Pinch your nose and blow what happens

Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

Brief overview: mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

  • What is mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? A first aid measure for ventilating a person who is no longer breathing or is breathing insufficiently.
  • Action: Slightly overstretch the head of the injured person. Covering his nose and blowing his own exhaled air into the patient's slightly open mouth.
  • In what cases? With respiratory arrest and cardiovascular arrest.
  • Risks: For first aiders: risk of infection from inhaled pathogens, "eye flickering" (small points or flashes of light in front of the eyes) from the effort of ventilation. In the patient: Vomiting caused by air blown into the abdomen, whereby the vomit can obstruct the airways.


  • If you are unsure how exactly to donate your breath in the event of cardiovascular arrest, or if you fear a possible risk of infection, you can omit mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if necessary and only do the cardiac pressure massage. Alternating both would be better.
  • If you feel dizzy with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, take a short break without changing the position of the unconscious head.
  • Gasping for breath is not normal breathing! It can occur in the first few minutes of cardiovascular arrest. Then you should definitely revive (reanimate) the person affected.
  • Check regularly that you are not inadvertently stretching the unconscious head back too much during the resuscitation. That could obstruct the airways!

How does mouth-to-mouth resuscitation work?

When giving breath in the form of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, you, as a first aider, blow the air you exhale into an unconscious person who is no longer breathing himself.

Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation: Instructions

  1. Lay the unconscious person flat on his back.
  2. Kneel down next to his head.
  3. Now take the chin of the unconscious person with one hand and pull it slightly upwards (this way the head is slightly hyperextended). Use the thumb of the same hand to hold the victim's mouth open.
  4. Place the second hand on his forehead and close his nose with your thumb and forefinger.
  5. Now breathe normally, then, with your mouth wide open, encircle the unconscious person's open mouth and breathe in your exhaled air for about a second. The chest of the person concerned must lift noticeably.
  6. Then detach yourself from the unconscious person's mouth (but keep holding his head) and see whether his chest sinks again.
  7. Repeat the whole thing once.
  8. After the 2nd breath you should start with the cardiac pressure massage, which you then perform alternately with renewed ventilation. Experts recommend a rhythm of 30: 2 here. That means: 30 heart pressure massage and 2 alternating breath donations.
  9. Continue the resuscitation until the person concerned is breathing normally again or the alarmed emergency doctor arrives!

Variant: mouth-to-nose resuscitation

If the unconscious mouth does not open or is injured, you can do mouth-to-nose resuscitation. It is as effective as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but a little more difficult to perform. It is not easy to keep the mouth of an unconscious person tightly closed while giving breath (soft lips!).

This is how mouth-to-nose ventilation works:

  1. Lay the unconscious man flat on his back and kneel next to his head.
  2. Place one hand on the unconscious forehead and the index and middle fingers of the other hand under the chin.
  3. Stretch the patient's head back a little: To do this, push the head back a little with your hand on your forehead, while you pull your chin up slightly with the other hand.
  4. Now place the thumb of the "chin hand" under the lower lip of the unconscious person (index and middle fingers remain under the chin) and press them firmly against the upper lip to close the mouth.
  5. Breathe in normally. Then surround the unconscious person's nose with your lips and blow in the air you exhale for about a second.
  6. After the resuscitation, turn your head to one side to see if the unconscious upper body is sagging again.
  7. Now give a second breath, followed by a heart pressure massage (see above).

Breathing donation to the child

In the case of children, the respiratory donation is given in a slightly adapted form. For example, if you are a child under the age of one, do not over-stretch your head. You can find out what else you should pay attention to in the article Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in children.

When do I do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation?

Give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if someone loses consciousness and stops breathing, or if someone has cardiovascular arrest. Do it quickly: just a few minutes without oxygen can cause severe brain damage and lead to death.

Continue donating breath (alternating with cardiac pressure massage) until the injured person breathes independently again or the emergency services arrive.

Risks of resuscitation in adults

Especially with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the pressure exerted when blowing in air can get into the stomach. This can cause vomiting in the unconscious. If the vomit gets into the airways (aspiration), these can be blocked.

The blown air cannot or only with difficulty reach the lungs if you, as a first aider, stretch the unconscious head too far. In doing so, its airways constrict.

If the patient is infected, there is a certain risk of infection for you as the first aider through the respiratory donation. But this is very low.

Donating your own breath can lower the level of carbon dioxide in your blood. The first aider recognizes this by a flicker in front of his eyes. He should then take a short break from mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (or mouth-to-nose resuscitation) or have someone relieve him.

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