Asphyxiation is a loss of consciousness due to the presence of too little oxygen or too much carbon dioxide in the blood. The victim may stop breathing for a number of reasons (i.e. drowning, electric shock, heart failure, poisoning, or suffocation). The flow of oxygen throughout the body stops within a matter of minutes if a person’s respiratory system fails. Heart failure, brain damage, and eventual death will result if the victim’s breathing cannot be restarted.
A person suffering from asphyxiation should be given rescue breathing. Before you begin rescue breathing, be certain that the victim has actually stopped breathing.
1. Kneel beside the victim, place your ear near his nose and mouth, and watch his chest carefully. You should feel and hear the breaths and see his chest rise and fall if he is breathing.
IF HE IS NOT BREATHING…
1. Provide an open airway. Carefully place the victim on his back and open his mouth. If any material is blocking the airway, it must be cleared out.
2. Tilt the victim’s head back by placing the heel of one hand on his forehead and the other hand under the bony part of his chin to lift it slightly.
3. Straddle his thighs, placing one palm slightly above the navel but well below the breastbone. Cover this hand with the other and interlace the fingers.
4. Without bending your elbows, press sharply on the victim’s abdomen 6-10 times.
5. Turn the victim’s head to one side and sweep out any contents in his mouth with your fingers.
6. If the victim’s breathing is not restored after removing the object, reposition his head in the head-tilt/chin-lift position and continue breathing for him as long as is necessary or until help arrives.
7. If there are no signs of breathing , pinch the victim’s nostrils closed. Seal your mouth over the victim’s mouth and blow two full breaths. A rising chest indicates that air is reaching the lungs. If the stomach is expanding instead, the victim’s neck and jaw are positioned improperly. Gently push on the victim’s abdomen with the palm of your hand until the air is expelled, because the extra air in the stomach may cause vomiting.
8. Look, listen, and feel again for signs of breathing. If the victim is still not breathing on his own, contnue blowing into his mouth one breath every five seconds until help arrives.
If you are working with infants or a small child, position your mouth so that you can blow through the child’s nose and mouth at the same time. Give two puffs, using your mouth and cheeks for breathing air into the infant’s lungs (to keep from overinflating the lungs). Administer one breath every 3-4 seconds.