How to Check for Breathing

1. Ensure Safety:

  • Before approaching the person, make sure the scene is safe for you to enter. Ensure there are no immediate dangers, such as traffic or hazardous materials.

2. Approach Cautiously:

  • Approach the person calmly and cautiously. Gently tap their shoulder and call out loudly to check if they are responsive. Say something like, "Are you okay?" or "Can you hear me?"

3. Look for Signs of Breathing:

  • While assessing responsiveness, closely observe the person's chest and abdomen for any signs of breathing. Look for the following:
    • Rise and fall of the chest or abdomen.
    • Movement of the person's chest as they breathe.
    • Listening for sounds of breathing (e.g., normal breathing sounds or gasping).

4. Check for No More Than 10 Seconds:

  • Spend no more than 10 seconds assessing for breathing. This is a quick evaluation to determine if the person is breathing or not.

5. Check for Normal Breathing:

  • If the person is breathing normally (regular, even breaths), maintain their current position and monitor their breathing until help arrives.
  • Ensure their airway is clear, and their head is tilted back slightly to keep the airway open.

6. Check for Absent or Abnormal Breathing:

  • If the person is not breathing or is only gasping (agonal breathing), you must initiate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
  • To begin CPR, place the person on their back on a firm surface and start chest compressions.

CPR for Adults (Age 8 and Older):

  • Place the heel of one hand on the center of the person's chest, just below the nipple line.
  • Place the other hand on top of the first hand and interlock your fingers.
  • Position yourself with your shoulders directly above your hands.
  • Use your upper body weight to push down hard and fast at a rate of about 100-120 compressions per minute. Allow the chest to fully recoil between compressions.
  • After 30 chest compressions, give 2 rescue breaths. Tilt the person's head back slightly, pinch their nose closed, and give a breath that makes the chest rise visibly.
  • Continue CPR until the person starts breathing on their own, trained medical personnel arrive, or you are too exhausted to continue.

CPR for Children (Ages 1 to 7) and Infants (Under Age 1):

  • For children, use one or two hands for chest compressions, depending on the child's size.
  • For infants, use two fingers in the center of the chest, just below the nipple line, for chest compressions.
  • Adjust the depth and rate of chest compressions according to the age of the child or infant.

Remember, if you find someone who is not breathing or only gasping, it is crucial to begin CPR immediately and continue until professional medical help arrives. Early intervention with CPR can significantly increase the chances of survival in cases of cardiac arrest or respiratory distress.

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