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First Aid Procedure for Artificial Respiration: Mouth to Mouth and Mouth to Nose Methods

Updated on November 10, 2019

Administration of artificial respiration is one of the crucial aspects of first aid. The mouth-to-mouth and mouth-to-nose methods described here are simple enough to be mastered by anyone who takes the trouble to practice them before emergency necessitates their use. They are also considered by authorities more effective than other techniques.

Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation

What to do:

1. Stretch out victim on his back and kneel close to his side. Loosen any tight clothing around his neck or chest.

2. Remove foreign objects if present from victim's mouth and throat by finger sweeping. If the patient seems to have water or mucus in his throat or chest, tilt him upside down or on his side to permit such fluid to run out the mouth.


3. Lift up chin and tilt head back as far as possible. If the head is not tilted, the tongue may block the throat. The tilting procedure should provide an open airway by moving the tongue away from the back of the throat. (Sometimes the victim will resume breathing as soon as this has been done.)


4.  Begin the resuscitation immediately. Pinch the nostrils together with the thumb and index finger of the hand that is pressing on the victim's forehead. This prevents the loss of air through the nose during resuscitation.

5.  Inhale deeply.

6. Place your mouth tightly around the victim's mouth (over mouth and nose of small children) and blow into the air passage. Volume is important - deep breaths should be used for adults; less for children; for infants, gentle puffs (emptying the cheeks) should be sufficient. You should start at a high rate and then provide at least one breath every 5 seconds for adults and every 3 seconds for small children. Continue this maneuver so long as there is any pulse or heartbeat


7.  Watch the victim's chest. When you see it rise, stop blowing, raise your mouth, turn your head to the side and listen for exhalation (Fig.4).

8.  If patient is revived, keep him warm and do not move him until the doctor arrives, or at least for one-half hour.

You might want to have this durable, laminated guide with illustrations for easy understanding, to keep for camping, in your car, at home, or in the office - Cpr & Lifesaving (Quick Study) Cards

If you can't take it having to perform a real mouth to mouth resuscitation, you might want to have this handy kit - MCR Medical CPR Rescue Mask, Adult/Child Pocket Resuscitator, Hard Case with Wrist Strap

courtesy of
courtesy of

Mouth-to-Nose Method

What To Do:

  1. Maintain the backward head-tilt position (as with the mouth-to-mouth method) with the hand on the forehead. Use the other hand to close the mouth. (Sometimes the victim's jaw is clenched shut as often happens in the case of drowning.
  2. Open your mouth widely, take a deep breath, seal your mouth tightly around the victim's nose and blow into the victim's nose.
  3. On the exhalation phase, open the victim's mouth (if possible) to allow air escape.

When administering mouth-to-nose ventilation to small children or infants, do not make the backward head-tilt as extensive as that for adults or large children.

The objective of these procedures is to obtain a rise and fall of the chest. If this is not occurring, something is wrong. The first aider must quickly reassess the situation. Check again for foreign matter in the mouth or throat; establish and maintain an open airway; and continue the blowing efforts until the victim breathes on his own or a physician pronounces him dead.

If the victim's stomach is bulging, air may have been blown into the stomach. This can happen when the air passage is obstructed or the inflation pressure is excessive. Although this is not a dangerous condition, it may make lung ventilation more difficult and increase the likelihood of vomiting. If the stomach is bulging, turn the victim's head to one side and be prepared to clear the mouth before pressing your hand briefly and firmly over the upper abdomen between the rib margin and the navel. This procedure will force air out of the stomach but it may also cause regurgitation.

Artificial respiration will apply in all cases where breathing has stopped - whether due to drowning, suffocation, poisoning, etc.


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    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      7 weeks ago from Gainesville, Florida

      Beth...Very informative article.

    • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Arch 

      8 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      Sun-Girl - Glad you liked it! Thanks for rating up.

    • Sun-Girl profile image


      8 years ago from Nigeria

      Beautiful info, well shared and i must confess that this is very educating.Am rating this work up,thanks for sharing.

    • beth811 profile imageAUTHOR

      Beth Arch 

      9 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      Entourage_007 - Glad that you found this hub helpful. Thank you for commenting.

    • Entourage_007 profile image


      9 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

      This is a very helpful hub. I remember learning this when I was a lifeguard. But that was 5 years ago and this article served as a great refresher.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      excellent information. Sometimes I if in such circumstances rather nervous, I call people around the existing wrote me to help

    • sarmack profile image


      9 years ago from Washington State

      Very informative! There are now face shields and other types of cover to protect the rescuer and victim from one another's cooties!! I didn't really know how to put that!!!


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