You and I are a lot alike.
We’re healthy. (or always striving to be).
We’re young. (-ish).
We’re active. (practicing the art of bikram yoga and running in between).
So, it seems odd that I’ve spent the past four years devoting my energy on educating people just like us about CPR. But, you see…
You and I are a lot alike.
We go out to eat. (sushi anyone?).
We got to the pool. (get a little vitamin d).
We go to work. (where you show the world what you can do).
And that’s what I mean. Last year, a woman just like me had to rescue her choking baby during an otherwise typical dinner. A neighbor had to pull a lifeless 5-year-old little girl out of the pool and start CPR hoping for help to arrive. An engineer had to think quick as his coworker collapsed in his office.
All survived. Remarkably…
…because someone knew what to do.
Take A Deep Breath…You Don’t Have to Feel Helpless!
Even though we’re healthy, a number of reasons outside our control can throw us into an emergency requiring CPR. Now, before you get overwhelmed, take a cleansing breath and trust me. It’s super simple. You don’t have to feel helpless. I’m going to tell you the key to CPR that most people don’t know…even after they’re certified. Stick with me because someone you know, healthy or not, might need you to know this!
What does it mean anyway?
CPR stands for Cardio (heart) Pulmonary (lungs) Resuscitation (to revive). Just breaking down this acronym tells us that the heart and lungs need to be revived. This means that if someone’s heart isn’t pumping, they are teetering between life and death…they are technically not alive. So, what do we do? We take over and do the work of the heart and lungs until they begin to work spontaneously again. Let’s break it down.
The 1 thing you absolutely need to know about CPR.
The heart is at the very core of it. The role of the heart is to pump blood to the body. The blood carries oxygen to the organs. Every organ needs that blood flow to survive. The brain is the most sensitive organ to this. We need to get blood flow to the brain to keep it alive. So, if the heart’s not pumping on it’s own, we will push down on the chest to literally pump blood out of the heart. This is called compressions. We are pushing down on the ribcage to shoot blood out of the heart. It is such a simple concept, right? We’re also going to breath for the victim, but the most important part, by far, is pumping blood to the organs.
When would you ever need this?
So, you might be wondering what types of things might cause someone to need CPR. Here’s a list of a few possible culprits. This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list. It might just put things in context for you. The bottom line is that anything that causes someone to be unresponsive and not breathing (or even just gasping) requires CPR.
-Sudden Cardiac Arrest (victims often appear healthy)
-Severe Allergic Reaction
As you can imagine, this could happen at any time. We are never guaranteed a positive outcome, but what you do can only help! Many people fear that they will cause injury to the victim if they intervene, but the truth is that injury is better than death. So, do what you can within the scope of what you’ve learned.
We really are a lot alike…
…and so are many victims who need CPR.
- Intimidating? If you’re like most people, it just seems way too intimidating, right? That’s why most people don’t respond in an emergency. I’m here to assure you that it is safer to do CPR on someone that doesn’t need it than not do CPR on someone who does. Get educated and then jump in there and do what you know!
- Germs? I know, I’m a germaphobe, too! I mean what if someone is really crusty in the mouth? Well, if you’re not planning on getting certified, but just want to help…the American Heart Association has a new initiative called “Hands-Only CPR” for adult victims. This means just focus on the most important part of CPR, the compressions (pumping blood).
What other hesitations do you have? Have you ever been involved in an emergency requiring CPR? Remember, it’s SUPER SIMPLE!
Gonzales, L., Lynch, M., & Bork, S. (Eds.). (2011). Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED Student Workbook Health & Safety. United States of America: First American Heart Association Printing.
This post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice. If you think you are having a medical emergency, seek medical care immediately. Call 911 for all life-threatening emergencies.
Hi, I’m Grace. I help parents feel more confident about CPR and provide research-based resources for healthy families on my blog, Precious Hearts by Grace. With extensive experience as a Registered Nurse in one of the nation’s leading Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Units, I was inspired to begin teaching CPR and First Aid. Now, it’s more than that! I am committed to distilling a variety of research to help you make the best decisions for your family! Currently, I live in Nashville with my ever-so-talented musician husband.