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In situations of drowning, the patient has most likely stopped breathing because of a respiratory problem and not because of a cardiac problem.

Always call for help and try to get someone to alert the emergency services for you, when you come across any unconscious patient or patient who is unconscious and not breathing.

You would still check for breathing using the same technique as before, but the difference is that in drowning cases, if the patient is not breathing, you would open the airway, pinch the nose and deliver five rescue breaths.

It may be that this is enough and the patient may start breathing, if not then you would start with 30 chest compressions, followed by two breaths and continue at a rate of 30 compressions to 2 breaths.

You continue for one minute and then go for help if there is nobody with you who can go and call the emergency services.

One minute of CPR may be enough, if they start coughing stop and place them in the recovery position, before going for help if you need to.

If the emergency services have been called, stay with the patient keep them as warm as possible and monitor them until the emergency services arrive.

Remember the key differences to remember when performing CPR on a patient who is not breathing due to drowning are:

  • You give 5 initial rescue breaths not 2
  • If you are alone you would perform CPR for 1 minute and then go for help