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What is “normal” breathing?

As we have discussed before, one of the first steps you should perform in an emergency situation is to check the potential victim for responsiveness. But what exactly is “responsiveness”?

Here are a few examples of what is NOT “responsiveness”.

1) Tap the person and shout, “Are you OK?” If they do NOT move, speak, blink, or have any other kind of reaction, then they are NOT responding.

2) Check their breathing. Can you hear breaths? Or see their chest rising? If the answer is no, then the victim is not breathing and you should perform CPR right away.

3) You might hear the victim take forceful and/or weak breaths. They could be gasping. Gasping is NOT a sign of normal breathing. If someone is gasping, they are taking air in very quickly, and may open their mouth and move their jaw, head or neck. Some time may even pass between gasps because they occur at a slower rate than normal breathing. A gasp can also sound like a snort, snore, or groan. Again, this is NOT normal breathing! This means you must perform CPR right away.

Remember: if you are not sure if someone is responding normally or not, it is always better to give CPR anyways. You do not want to take any risks when another person’s life is in your hands.

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Precious Hearts, LLC is an Authorized Provider of the American Heart Association's CPR and ECC courses. It is our intent to provide an exceptional learning experience for all who entrust us with their minds!
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