If a person has not been able to breath for even a short time he or she will become unconscious. Hold your ear close to the victim's nose and mouth and watch the chest wall to see if it is moving. If the victim's complexion is very pale or bluish, especially around the lips, it is evidence that the breath has stopped or circulation is impaired. Some of the common reasons for cessation of breathing include:
1. Obstruction of the mouth, throat, and windpipe.
2. Lung damage
3. Fluid in the lungs.
4. Exposure to harmful gases.
5. Heart disorders
6. Brain disorders.
7. Electric shocks.
8. Traumatic blows.
10. Suffocation or strangulation
11. Lack of oxygen in the air or the presence of poisonous gases.
Listen, look and feel if the patient is breathing at all. Put you ear to the chest over the heart and listen to see if you can hear the heart beat and feel the persons pulse at the neck or wrist. If the heat is beating begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation immediately. If there is no pulse or "lub-dub" sounds from the heart that means the person's heart is not beating. If this is the case begin CPR immediately (refer). When a person has stopped breathing there is a immediate danger of irreversible brain damage. Have some on call 911 immediately, or if alone, apply artificial respiration at once then call 911.
If the chest does not rise on blowing into the person's mouth there is most likely an obstruction blocking the flow of the air. Again check the person's mouth and throat to see if you have missed any material that may be obstructing the breathing process. If you can not see any material obstructing the mouth there may be a foreign object blocking the throat. Bend the body over slightly, or lie the person on their side and sharply thump the back between the shoulder blades 3 or 4 times with the heel of your hand. If the victim is a child, lie them face down over your knee, or hold them upside down, and strike them with much less force. This will usually dislodge the obstruction. If not repeat it every few seconds.
If this does not work use the "Heimlich maneuver" which is also called the abdominal thrust (refer). This maneuver should be carried out with care as it can cause injury, especially if done with too much force. Repeat the blowing of a strong breath into the lungs of the victim and gain watch for the victim's chest to expand and contract. If the heart is beating they will regain a relatively healthy color after a few inflations of the lungs. Once the victim is breathing strongly on there own place them in the recovering position (refer) and monitor their breathing until help arrives. If there is any relapse of the symptoms, or the victim cannot breath unaided, continue give artificial respiration until medical help arrives. Continue to monitor the person's heartbeat. The average heart rate is around 60 to 80 beats and minute in adults. In infants and young people it is faster, whereas in old people it may be slower. If there is no detectable heart beat begin CPR immediately!
Materia Medica (The following are the most common remedies used in asphyxia. For more details refer to The Materia Medica of First Aid.)
Aconite (1): This remedy is called for when the person is panicky and very fearful of death after they begin to breath and become conscious. There is extremely restless and tossing about. They have aversion to light and there are eyes are red. Their face is hot, red, flushed and swollen but on rising they become deathly pale.
Anti Tart (3 *): This remedy is indicated when there seem to be paralysis of the lung due to fluid retention or drowning (Lach). There is great rattling of mucus and fluids but very little is expectorated. Asphyxia from foreign bodies caught in the larynx and trachea or from mucus in the bronchi. The face is cold, blue, pale, and covered with cold sweat. The victim is drowsy, debilitated, and there may be chill and contractures with pain in the muscles. There may be a desire for frequent little sips of cold water. There may be nausea, retching and vomiting. It is also indicated for new born infants who do not breath (Arn., CAMPH., CUPR., LAUR., Op.).
Arnica (1): This remedy is useful when the cause of the asphyxia was of traumatic origin. The face is sunken, the eyes droop but the victim feel they must keep there eyes open. The individual may be seem unconscious, but they will answer correctly to questions, and then relapse. They are very fearful of touch and the approach of anyone. They will constantly tell the responder that there is nothing wrong with them and want to be left alone. This remedy is indicated when a person has received a great physical or mental shock.
Camphora (2): This remedy is useful in victim's who are in a state of collapse. There is an icy coldness of the entire body, sudden sinking of strength, and a small weak pulse. The face is pale, haggard, anxious, distorted, bluish, and cold with cold sweat. The eyes are fixed, staring and the pupils are dilated. There is a sensation as if all objects are too bright and glittering. Although the skin is very cold the individual cannot bare to be covered. They feel better when they are thinking of the pain.
Carbo Veg (3*): The remedy is sometimes called the "corpse reviver" as it is the first remedy to try if no other remedy seems specifically indicated. The face is puffy, bluish, cold, and the cheeks are mottled. The victim seems almost lifeless, pulse almost imperceptible, the breath cold, and their is great air hunger that makes the individual wants to be fanned as soon as they regain consciousness. It is specific for poisoning by gases such as carbon-monoxide or coal gas (aco., bell., Carbo-v., op.).
China (2): Useful in cases in which the cause of the apparent death is from bleeding. The face is sallow, bloodless, pale and bloated.
Opium (3*): This remedy is indicated in victim's who are unconscious or semi-conscious who have noisy, deep snoring, irregular breathing. Their face is red, bloated, swollen, dark suffused, and hot. There may be spasmodic twitching, esp., at the corners of the mouth, and the jaw may be hanging down. The eyes are half closed and the pupils are insensitive and contracted. It is specific for persons have had strokes, or who have been strangled or hanged.
ASPHYXIA, apparent death - Acet-ac., acon., ars., ANT-T., arn., Camph., CARBO-V., Chin., OP.
air hunger wants to be fanned - CARB-V.
bleeding , from - CHINA.
coal gas - carb-s, carb-v.
cold individual can not bare to be covered - Camph.
deathly pale on arising - Acon.
drowned - ant-t. lach.
frozen persons - acon., ars.., carb-v.
cold, blue, pale, and covered with cold sweat - Ant-t.
drowsy, debilitated - ant-t.
eyes are half closed and the pupils are insensitive and contracted - Op..
fearful of touch and the approach of anyone - Arn.
hot, red, flushed, swollen but on rising they become deathly pale - Acon.
pale, haggard, anxious, distorted, bluish, and cold with cold sweat - Camph.
puffy, bluish, cold, and the cheeks are mottled - Carb-v.
sunken, the eyes droop but the victim feel they must keep there eyes open - Arn.
unconscious, but they will answer correctly to questions, and then relapse - Arn.
hanged, strangled person , of - ars., op.
hemorrhages, after - carb-v., chin.
injuries , after - arn., op.
anxious - camph.
drowsy - ant-t.
panicky and very fearful of death- ACON.
new born infant - ANT-T., Arn., bell., CAMPH., CARB-V., chin., CUPR., LAUR., Op.
paralysis of the lung due to fluid retention or drowning - Ant-t.
rattling, great , of mucus and fluids but very little is expectorated - ANT-T.
unconscious or semi-conscious, noisy, deep snoring, irregular breathing - OP.
Disclaimer: This information is supplied for educational purposes only. It is not for the treatment of any individual person or disease. If you are suffering any particular complaint please consult a physician or call emergency services.