How to Give Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is performed on someone who has stopped breathing. Perhaps they had an asthma attack, or drowned in the pool. Though mouth-to-mouth is no longer advised for cardiac arrest victims, it is still used for commonly used for other victims, such as drowning victims. Mouth-to-mouth can save a person's life.


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    Make sure the area is safe before you approach the victim. Your safety is your first priority, so before entering a potentially hazardous area, check for anything that might be dangerous. For example, look for a fallen power line, oncoming traffic, or treacherous terrain.
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    Try to elicit a response from the victim. First, introduce yourself and ask if they're okay. If they don't respond, gently shake them and ask them and say "are you okay?". Speak loudly and clearly and pay attention to see if they hear you.
    • If there is no response, immediately call for an ambulance. Dial 911, 112, or whatever the emergency number is for your area. If possible, have someone else call while you continue with the patient. If you are alone, do this before beginning treatment.
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    Check the patient's airway. Make sure that the patient is lying on their back. Gently tilt their head back, lift their chin, and open their mouth. You may need to slide their jaw forward by applying pressure just behind their jawbones on either side of their head; this will lift the chin and open their airways so that you can see them more clearly. Look down into their throat and inspect the airway. If there is foreign matter in their mouth (water, foam, vomit, food, etc.), gently roll them onto their side and allow the substance to flow out of their mouth. If needed, use two fingers to gently sweep it out of the person's mouth. If possible, wear gloves while doing this.
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    Check for normal breathing. Put your ear close to the victim's mouth and nose to listen and feel for breathing. Watch or feel the patient's chest to see if it rises and falls as they breathe in and out. If you see them breathing, you won't need to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, as they are already able to breathe.
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    Start mouth-to-mouth. Tilt the victim's head back to fully open their airways. Pinch their nostrils closed so that air that you push into their mouth can't escape through their nose. Place your mouth over their mouth, making sure your lips form a good seal so that the air does not escape. Blow firmly into their mouth for one second. Watch the see if their chest rises as you blow.
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    Continue mouth-to-mouth until help arrives. If the patient's heart has stopped, perform CPR with chest compressions as well as mouth-to-mouth. Perform 30 chest compressions and then two rescue breaths, then repeat the cycle.
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    Check to see if the patient recovers. If they begin breathing on their own, stop rescue breaths and roll them into the recovery position (on their side). Reassure them and keep them calm while you wait for emergency responders.
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    Stay with the victim until help arrives. Once you begin CPR or mouth-to-mouth, you are obliged to continue treatment until someone with the same or more training takes over, so continue treatment until the patient recovers or emergency medical responders can take over.


  • CPR training will give you a much better idea of how to perform CPR correctly and accurately, and with it, you could save a life.
  • Even though mouth-to-mouth may seem gross, it can save a person's life.
  • Use a CPR mask when giving mouth-to-mouth, if you own one.


  • Do not give mouth-to-mouth if the person's mouth is bleeding and you don't have a mask.
  • If the ambulance officer advises that you do Hands-only CPR, disregard mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

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Categories: First Aid and Emergencies