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When someone looks like they’re asleep but they’re unable to respond to noise or body contact, it’s likely they’re unresponsive.

Unresponsiveness can last for a few seconds (e.g. fainting), or for a long time. It’s often brought on by serious illness or injury (often a head injury), or from taking alcohol or other drugs.

You need to deal with someone who is unresponsive and breathing differently from someone who is unresponsive and not breathing (see below).

The treatment is also different for babies (under one year), children (one year up to puberty) and adults.

Unresponsive and breathing

       Unresponsive and breathing baby (under one year old)

Unresponsive and breathing child

Unresponsive and breathing – adult 

Unresponsive and not breathing - CPR

Unresponsive and not breathing child

Unresponsive and not breathing baby (under one year old)

Unresponsive and not breathing – adult

If they’re unresponsive and not breathing, you’ll need to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). This involves giving someone a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths to keep their heart and circulation going.

If they start breathing normally again, stop CPR and put them in the recovery position.

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