When a person’s breathing or heartbeat stops, mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths can be used to maintain oxygen levels until professional medical help arrives. These first-aid techniques are commonly taught as part of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training. However, recent guidelines have focused on encouraging bystanders to only perform chest compressions instead of mouth-to-mouth breathing. This article by a Raleigh CPR training center seeks to clarify what is the indication for mouth to mouth rescue breaths, as well as how these breathing techniques should be performed.
A person may experience a severe respiratory distress or cardiac arrest for a variety of reasons. Common causes include drowning, mechanical airway obstruction (such as a blocked windpipe), electrical shock or electrocution, drug overdose, and significant physical injury.
To open the victim’s airway, gently tilt their head back a little and lift their chin. Pinch their nose, seal your mouth over theirs, and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth, checking that their chest rises. Each breath should last for about 1 second.
Before delivering a rescue breath, pinch their nose using your thumb and index finger to prevent air from escaping through the nose during the procedure. Also, check the victim’s mouth for visible objects such as food or vomit that could block the airway. If there is an object in the victim’s mouth, carefully sweep it out with your fingers without pushing the object further into the throat. Continue the sequence of chest compressions and rescue breaths until the victim revives or emergency medical services arrive.