Many cardiac situations happen at home or out in public. In fact, a cardiac emergency is 4 times as likely to happen at home than in a hospital. This means that bystander CPR is more important than ever. However, there are many barriers that prevent people from acting. Some of these barriers include:
- Feeling you will do more harm than good
- Not knowing what to do
- Thinking you will get sued
- Not having a breathing barrier (A piece of PPE that prevents exposure to the other person’s bodily fluids)
I want to focus this post on the 4th issue. The rest can be summed up by saying, “doing something is always better than doing nothing.” But there is a real concern for your own health and safety, if you don’t know the person you are wanting to help. The medical community 100% agrees that you should never expose yourself unnecessarily to potential disease or infection by putting your mouth on a stranger, even if they are in need of CPR. However, instead of walking by them as if there was nothing you could do because you forgot your breathing barrier, you can always do the chest compression (hands-only CPR).
Studies have determined that hands-only CPR can be just as effective, if done right and the person acts quickly. In this situation, you would focus completely on the chest compression and not worry about giving the breaths. This too can be summed up by saying, “Doing something is ALWAYS better than doing nothing.” This video by The American Heart Association illustrates what should be done.