Can Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation be Dangerous?

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is one of the steps of the CPR process to get oxygen into a victim who has stopped breathing due to cardiac arrest. The oxygen you give through mouth-to-mouth resuscitation helps keep oxygen circulating through the body and brain to keep vital organs functioning while waiting for emergency medical help to arrive and take over. Giving lifesaving CPR to a person in need can significantly improve their survival rate and their recovery rate. Can Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation ever be dangerous? Yes, it can be in certain circumstances. More current adult CPR certification classes teach us that when mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is too dangerous to administer, compression only CPR can be used to keep the victim alive.

Examples of when mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may be dangerous include scenarios such as:  if the victim has been involved in an auto accident and their face is covered in blood, or the victim has become very ill and has vomit or other bodily fluids on the surface of their skin, or if the victim has been exposed to harmful bacteria or pathogens which could put the first responder’s health and safety at risk. Other real life examples from bystanders can include cultural conflicts and not wanting to put their mouth on a stranger. Using compression only CPR can be used in any situation where a first responder does not feel comfortable giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or if it is not safe to do so.

Compression only CPR techniques are taught in all basic CPR course programs. Child CPR classes, baby first aid and CPR classes, and adult CPR and AED courses all cover the techniques of compression only CPR that can be used when traditional mouth-to-mouth resuscitation poses a health risk to the first responder. 

CPR classes and certification courses are used to help save the life of a victim that has stopped breathing. The body can go an average of four minutes before irreparable damage is done and chances of survival diminish. The average response time for emergency medical help to arrive is between five and ten minutes, depending on where you live. This is why it is so vital to learn CPR and sustain the life of another under paramedics are able to take over. Learning CPR saves lives and improves recovery rates of victims who have experienced cardiac arrest.

CPR Certifications
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