June is Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and summer safety month. Social distancing and the quarantine of whole families raises the importance of early identification of a cardiac arrest. Many are reluctant to call emergency services for hospital transport because of a fear of contracting the Coronavirus. The truth of the matter is the risk of getting infected at the hospital is minimal and does not outweigh the danger of ignoring alife-threatening emergency.
What is a Cardiac Arrest?
A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops pumping blood, and the chances of surviving increase significantly with early identification and intervention. According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests happen each year, with 315,000 being fatal. Being able to administer CPR within minutes makes the difference. CPR restores oxygen to the brain and vital organs,keeping them alive until advanced medical care is available.
It is not the first responder, emergency medical tech, or the firefighter who saves the cardiac arrest patient. It is YOU! A cardiac arrest happens suddenly, and without warning—the chances of recovery diminish with every minute that passes. The person trained in CPR has the skills to preserve life by delivering oxygenated blood to all the tissues of the body. The immediate response by you can save alife.
The chances of revival start to decline, and brain damage sets in unless CPR begins within the first two minutes. At three minutes, the lack of blood increases the chances of irreversible brain damage. Once we reach nine minutes, mental and physical deficits have an increased chance of becoming permanent. After ten minutes, the chances of survival are unlikely.
There are indicators of a cardiac arrest, which include; a one time or recurring pain in the chest area that lasts for a few minutes. The chest discomfort may feel like tightness, squeezing, or pressure. You may experience shortness of breath, although this is not always the situation. There may be a discomfort that radiates to one or both arms, the neck, jaw, or into the back. Finally, there may be cold, clammy sweats, vomiting, and nausea. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms.
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