Clean any mud or water from the mouth with a handkerchief on the finger, loosen all tight clothing, and expose the chest and waist. Slip your hands under the man's waist and lift him high enough for his head to hang down and drain the water out of him. Give two or three quick; smarting slaps on his naked chest with the open hand. If this fails to restore breathing, then start at once to perform artificial respiration. The best way for an inexperienced person, or for one who has to work alone, is what is called the "prone-pressure method," as follows:
Turn the patient face downward on the ground, arms extended above the head, face to one side. If his tongue does not fall forward, grasp it with a handkerchief and pull it out, so that air may enter.
Kneel astride of him, and grasp him firmly on both sides of the chest, just above lower margin of ribs. Press steadily and heavily downward and forward, for three seconds, to expel the air from the lungs. Then, gradually (two seconds) release the pressure. The elasticity of the chest makes it expand and draw air into the lungs. Repeat this operation with a regular rhythm of 12 to 15 to the minute. You will conserve your own strength by swinging your body forward and backward so as to let your weight fall vertically upon the wrists and then be released.
While you are doing this, if there is an assistant, have him remove the patient's wet clothing, dry him without rubbing, and cover him with a dry blanket or articles of clothing; but do not let this interrupt your own work for a single moment. Do not rub nor apply heat to restore circulation until natural breathing has been established; to do so might be fatal.
Continue this treatment until the subject shows signs of life; then, with more gentle pressure, until the breath comes naturally. There must be no let up. Two or more helpers can work in relays, changing about without losing the "stroke." In most cases the patient revives within thirty minutes; but it may take an hour or two of continuous work to restore life. Do not be discouraged.
As soon as natural breathing has been restored, rub the person's limbs and body with firm pressure toward the heart, to bring back circulation. Now wrap him in warm blankets and apply hot stones or other dry heat, as described early in this chapter. When he can swallow, give him hot stimulants, a little at a time. Then let him sleep.