Let’s start with a fact: CPR SAVES LIVES.
Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Medical professionals are unanimous in stating that any CPR, no matter how imperfect, is better than no CPR at all.
There are many myths and misconceptions around this emergency procedure that make some people afraid of it. Let’s dispel some CPR myths because somebody’s life can depend on getting past that fear.
And while we’re on the subject, carry a certified CPR kit so you’ll be prepared for an emergency.
MYTH - You Need Training to Perform CPR
If you haven’t had any CPR training and you’re alone with a victim whose heartbeat has stopped, call 911 and give CPR the best shot you can. The 911 dispatcher always keeps you on the line and should provide you with instructions! You never know how long it will take for trained medical personnel to reach the scene. Meanwhile, CPR can keep life-saving blood and oxygen circulating through the victim’s body. Every little bit counts. Don’t worry about training. Listen carefully and help. There is much more to lose by holding back.
MYTH – Trying CPR Could Make Things Worse
If someone’s heart has stopped, attempting CPR can hardly make the situation worse. In such a case, CPR is always worth attempting and will definitely not cause more harm. Maybe fast chest compressions can cause some rib damage, but this is not an issue when a life is on the line.
MYTH – You Can Be Sued for Administering CPR
Good Samaritan laws are there to protect you if you provide emergency medical assistance. There is no legal basis that should prevent you from helping a victim of cardiac arrest.
MYTH – The Sole Purpose of CPR is to Get the Heart Beating Again
Granted, the end goal of emergency help is to get the heart beating again, but the primary reason for doing chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth is to keep blood and oxygen circulating in a bid to keep the brain and vital organs alive until more comprehensive treatment can be administered.
MYTH – You Can Contract HIV From Performing CPR
The risk is minimal. That’s a fact. This myth is driven by fear and stops some people from attempting CPR. HIV can be transmitted by blood, semen or vaginal fluid – not saliva.
Of course, sometimes a victim may be bleeding or carrying a disease. But if the victim has significant fluids in the mouth, you need to keep the airway open. This is where carrying a keychain CPR mask with a plastic barrier sheet and a one-way air valve can be enormously helpful.
MYTH – CPR Always Works
Watching movies and TV can make you believe that CPR works every time. What it does is raise a person’s chances of survival. The survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims who do not receive bystander CPR is about 4%, but goes up to 10% if bystander CPR is started immediately. Chances go up even more when professionals arrive quickly. Every life is important.
MYTH – You Can Gain CPR Certification Online
No, you cannot. You can certainly pick up tips and techniques through online sources, but if you want CPR certification, you can book classes with the Red Cross and the American Heart Association.
So, the message is… Don’t believe the CPR myths, don’t be afraid to have a go, and carry a small CPR mask for emergencies. You can save a life even if you aren’t trained.
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