How can I help someone with a breathing emergency until EMS takes over?

  • Help the person rest in a comfortable position. Usually, sitting is more comfortable than lying down because breathing is easier in that position. 
  • If the person is conscious, check for other conditions. 
  • If the person cannot talk, ask him or her to nod or shake his or her head to answer yes-or-no questions. 
  • If the person still has trouble answering questions, ask any bystanders what they know about the person's condition.
American Red Cross,child, victim, leaning forward, trying to cough, choking, airway blocked

Continue Learning about First Aid For Medical Emergencies & Conditions

Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Emergency Department
Avoid Unnecessary Trips to the Emergency Department
In the movie Pay It Forward, the storyline is all about doing good deeds for strangers who, in turn, pass on a good deed to someone they don’t know. O...
Read More
How do I prevent spreading disease after providing emergency care?
American Red CrossAmerican Red Cross
Avoid handling any of your personal items such as pens or combs while giving care, or until you ...
More Answers
What qualities do I need to be a rescuer in medical emergencies?
 Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD Dr. Kathleen Handal, MD
Before you become a rescuer, be aware of your own sensitivities and physical limitations. If you...
More Answers
How to Make a Makeshift Bat and Survival Bag
How to Make a Makeshift Bat and Survival Bag

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.