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Managing suffocation

Ensure an open airway to allow the air to reach the lungs of the victim. Place the individual on his back.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 04, 2003 19:49 IST

Phase I

    Rate of breathing increases

    Breath gets shorter

    Veins of the neck become swollen

    Face, Lips, nails, fingers and toes turn blue.

    Pulse gets faster and feebler

Phase II

    Consciousness is lost totally or partially.

    Froth may appear at the mouth and nostrils.

    Fits may occur.

Note: Even after breathing has stopped the heart may continue to beat for ten to twelve minutes. In such cases it is possible to restore breathing by artificial respiration, and bring the casualty back to life.


The important things to do are:

    Remove the cause if possible or remove the casualty from the cause.

    Ensure an open airway to allow the air to reach the lungs. Place the individual on his back. Support the nape of the neck on your palm and press the head backwards. Then press the angle of the jaw forward from behind. This will extend the head on the neck and lift the tongue clear off the airway. If the airway is opened by this method the individual gasps and starts to breathe. Give three to four inflations to the lungs to facilitate breathing by mouth-to-mouth method. If the heart is beating, carotid pulse can be felt at the base of neck. (Pulse at wrist may not be felt).Continue to ventilate the lungs until breathing becomes normal.

    Prevent damage to the brain and other vital organs (which will occur due to the lack of oxygen) apply artificial respiration to ensure prompt ventilation of the lungs, and if necessary, do external cardiac compression.

    Continue artificial respiration until natural breathing is restored it may be necessary to continue for a long time unless a doctor advises to stop in case of double you should rather continue longer than stop early. Take help from other available in case of need.

    Keep the body warm using light blankets.

    Provide shelter to the casualty (at least with an umbrella)


First Published: Sep 04, 2003 19:49 IST