(HealthyResearch.com) – Time matters if someone goes down with a stopped heart. Your presence of mind and ability to act might be the difference between life and death. Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could be the greatest gift you ever give. We have tips on learning CPR and what to do if you haven’t yet.
Call Emergency Services for Help
Call for 911 for help before you begin performing CPR. Operators or emergency services can walk you through performing CPR.
If there is another bystander, get someone to help you. Alternate performing CPR between the two of you because it can be physically taxing.
How to Do Chest Compressions
To perform CPR, cross your hands, one on top of the other, interlinking the fingers, so the fleshy base of the palm of your hand is against the victim’s chest. You need the compressions to be about two inches deep to ensure you’re pumping the heart to move blood through the body. You want to actually see the chest move up and down when you press and release.
The pressure you apply during CPR will need to be harder than what you likely think it should be. Most people who see it for the first time are surprised at how fast it is, also — about 100 compressions per minute to equal about 100 heartbeats per minute. This video shows what CPR typically looks like:
Hands-Only CPR vs. CPR With Breaths
CPR has been updated over the years as we learn more about what happens to the body when the heart stops. The lungs can hold 2-5 minutes of breath before it’s necessary to get oxygen into the lungs and circulating in the body. In the majority of CPR cases, it’s not necessary to administer breaths. During the first few minutes, hands-only CPR is considered to be just as effective as CPR with breaths for cardiac arrest victims.
However, there are some cases in which CPR with breaths is still necessary. If the person you are performing CPR on is an infant, child, drug overdose victim, drowning victim or a patient who collapsed due to breathing difficulties. In these cases,
How to Breathe for Someone Else
So, you’ve found yourself in a situation where you need to administer CPR with breaths. Now what?
After you start compressions, your next step is to tilt the victim’s head back, clear the airway and listen for breathing on their own. If there isn’t any breath, you need to cover their mouth completely with your mouth, forming a tight seal and then blow in. If you have sealed it properly, their chest should rise with each breath you blow.
You will literally be breathing for the other person, and you cannot stop unless the person restarts breathing, someone else takes over or a medical professional tells you to stop. You are their breath of life. Do 30 chest compressions, then one high-quality breath, followed by another 30 compressions.
Continue to repeat this cycle until someone else can take over for you, or trade out with another person to minimize the physical toll. You should perform CPR until medical professionals arrive to relieve you or until the person is successfully revived and breathing on their own again.
Music to Save a Life By
During CPR classes, this is the fun part — but it’s quite serious business in a real-life situation: music to help you keep your compression rhythm accurate. For years, the American Heart Association used the Bee Gee’s disco song “Stayin’ Alive” as the song to sing while compressing the chest, “…Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.” To the beat of the song, you get about 100 compressions per minute, which may seem quite fast. But the song helps set a rhythm that’s familiar, especially during a time when you are counting compressions and breathing for another.
The Bee Gee’s song, though it was the perfect beat and title, has become dated. A younger generation might not be as aware of this song. As such, the American Heart Association (AHA) has created a playlist of popular songs that are listed by the generation as well as the artist that have the beat required to properly perform CPR. Their playlist includes “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga, “Bye Bye Bye” by *NSYNC, “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice, among numerous other hits you’re probably familiar with.
Pick your favorite song and learn the chorus that repeats to practice CPR to the beat of the song. You can use the AHA’s list or you can choose any song you like that is between 100 to 120 beats per minute for the rhythm.
Practice and Get Certified
To prepare for an emergency situation, take a CPR class. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a heart attack occurs once every 40 seconds in the US. That means it’s very likely you might observe someone having a heart attack at some point in your life. If you learn CPR, you might be able to save a life.
The American Red Cross (ARC) offers classes and CPR ‘dummies’ to practice singing your chosen song, doing compressions and breaths safely for both you and the victim. To practice and become certified, you must attend live classes, but they also offer online courses and modified combination courses (online and live so that you can learn at your leisure, but practice and become certified by an instructor).
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use CPR. But if you do, you could be a miracle to someone else and a literal lifesaver. And while you could save the life of a complete stranger, the life you save could also be someone you know and love.
~Here’s to Your Health & Safety!
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