You might not be aware of it but there is a very good possibility that you will be in a situation where someone needs lifesaving assistance. It could be something as simple as a child choking on a piece of food at home or a stranger who has a seizure at a restaurant.
Would you know what to do?
While it’s crucial that you learn CPR and AED skills from a code one training professional, there are many other situations where a patient needs to be stabilized until emergency personnel can arrive, and you just might be that passerby that can provide life-saving help.
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Again, this can’t be stressed enough. It’s vital that you receive CPR training from a professional. The techniques used are not like the ones you see in the movies and the practice has actually changed over recent years so you’ll need to know the proper way to perform CPR. If you find a person in distress with no pulse, follow these instructions.
The American Heart Association’s newest guidelines state that 911 should be called immediately. Untrained bystanders should then place the victim on their back and begin chest compressions at a rate of about 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Individuals trained in CPR should also perform breaths at a rate of 2 breaths per 30 chest compressions.
The 911 operator should be placed on a speaker to assist the person administering CPR until emergency personnel arrives.
Performing the Heimlich Maneuver
Choking can happen to anyone at any time and time is of the essence. The first step, as always, is to call 911. The dispatcher can help you through the process.
For adult choking victims that are conscious, wrap your arms around them from behind and make a fist with thumb side resting against their lower abdomen just below the rib cage. Wrap your other hand around the fist and press forcefully in a sharp, upward motion. Repeat this motion until the object comes out.
If a victim is unconscious place them flat on their back and straddles their hips. Place the heel of one hand under the rib cage and place your other hand on top. Again, press firmly in an upward motion and repeat as necessary.
When a person suffers an injury that results in severe bleeding it’s important to act quickly. If you are in a position to do so, call 911. Then have the person lie down and if the wound is on an arm or leg, elevate it. Clear the wound of any large debris but don’t try to clean it. Using a folded towel press firmly on the wound and don’t ease the pressure. If you can, bind the cloth tightly with a bandage or tape.
Tourniquets should only be used by those who have been trained in the procedure. If you don’t know how to use one, don’t do it as it can cause more harm than good. If you have used a tourniquet on the victim be sure the let emergency personnel know how long the tourniquet has been in place.
Attending to Someone Having a Seizure
Seizures can be the result of many diseases and they’re pretty frightening to see. Sometimes the victim will feel symptoms of an impending seizure and sometimes they won’t, but the fact remains that they will need help. Again, calling 911 is the first step and time the seizure if you can.
If the person is not already on the floor, ease them down gently and lay them on their side. Remove any surrounding objects. Use a pillow or your lap to cradle the person’s head and never place any object in the person’s mouth. Do not try and hold them down but do move them gently if they are at risk of hitting any objects.
Seizures generally only last about 90 seconds but the victim may be very disoriented upon regaining consciousness. Talk to them quietly and reassure them until emergency personnel arrives.
Some people may go their entire lives without finding themselves in a position where these skills are necessary. But many people will. Keep your first aid skills up to date, take a CPR course, and be prepared because you have no ways of knowing if the next time you’re out and about those skills could save someone’s life.
This is a sponsored post written by Cher Zevala. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own. Learn more about contributing for Consumer Health Digest.