Breathing problems can be caused by foreign matter in the throat that obstructs the windpipe, by face or neck injuries, by inflammation or swelling in the mouth or throat, or by a swallowed tongue.

If a person is having trouble breathing, you must open the airway using these steps:

  1. Check to see if the airway is blocked.  If the victim can cough or speak, allow them to clear any obstructions naturally.  If the airway is obstructed, administer abdominal thrusts until the obstruction is cleared.
  2. Take your finger and sweep inside the victim’s mouth to clear any foreign material such as dentures, dirt, or broken teeth.
  3. Grasp the angles of the victim’s lower jaw and lift with both hands (one on each side), moving the jaw forward.
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  4. Once the airway is opened, pinch the victim’s nose closed with your thumb and forefinger and blow two complete breaths into the victim’s lungs.  After the second inflation, allow the victim’s lungs to deflate.  Then Look for the chest to rise and fall, Listen for escaping air during exhalation, and Feel for a flow of air on your cheek.
  5. If the above forced breaths do not stimulate natural breathing, continue performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  6. Note: victims will sometimes vomit in their own mouth.  You should periodically check the victim’s mouth for vomit and clear it out as needed.
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