Category Archives: Safety Tips

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HOW TO PERFORM CPR COMPRESSIONS ON AN ADULT

In a event where a person has stopped breathing, every second counts. After you have taken the measures to ensure that a person in a life-threatening situation is out of harm’s way, but still unconscious or non-responsive, you must be prepared to give CPR to the individual. These steps will walk you through the process of performing chest compressions. In all scenarios, make sure that 911 or other local emergency services are called to ensure trained medical assistance will be sent to aid you.

1. If an Automated External Defibrillator is available:
If an local AED device is available, retrieve it and use it first before attempting CPR. Most AEDs currently give verbal instructions guiding you in how to use it, and will deliver a shock to the person’s heart which stops all other activity in an attempt to restore a normal heartbeat if needed. The AED can improve the chances a person will survive even before administering CPR techniques.

2. If you are not trained in CPR techniques:
Even if you are not familiar with CPR, remember that even doing something without complete knowledge is much better than doing nothing at all in a life-threatening situation. In such a case, the American Heart Association recommends that you provide hands-only CPR until medical personnel arrive: meaning that you provide uninterrupted chest compressions of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. You do not have to attempt rescue breathing if you are not trained to do so – this will greatly assist medical personnel taking over. If you were formerly trained in CPR but have forgotten techniques since then, follow this advice as well.

3. If you are trained in CPR techniques:
If you had access to a AED, see if that restores a pulse or breathing. Whether or not you had access to an AED, in the event that there is no breathing or heartbeat after 10 seconds of assessment than life-saving measures are needed. Begin CPR administration, starting with 30 uninterrupted compressions before administering two rescue breaths.

4. The C.A.B. Procedure:
In all events, the American Heart Association recommends the “C.A.B.” method in that order: Compressions, Airway, Breathing. The main reminder is that compressions should always be administered first before attempting to restore breathing.

5. Performing Compressions:
When preparing to perform compressions, make sure the person is laying down with their back on a firm surface. Position yourself correctly by kneeling next to the person’s neck and shoulders. Put the heel of one hand over the center of the person’s chest, with the other hand on top. Ensure your shoulders are above the placement of your hands and that your elbows are straight, and then begin compressions. You must push down approximately 2 inches (or 5 centimeters), but no more than 2.4 inches (or 6 centimeters) per each compression to compress the person’s chest, pushing straight down with your entire upper body strength.

6. The Rate of Performing Compressions:
Perform at least 100 to 120 compressions per minute while administering. If you are not trained in further CPR measures, continue performing compressions until there is movement from the person or until medical assistance arrives.

cpr emergency

WHAT TO DO BEFORE PERFORMING CPR IN AN EMERGENCY

In the event that you come across an individual who has stopped breathing, every second can mean the difference between life and death. However, before you can perform CPR or other life saving measures, there are steps you should take care of first in order to best serve the person in need of help.

1. Ensure the individual you are helping is in a safe, non-hazardous environment:
In the event of an emergency, make sure the person you are assisting is recovered safely from any hazardous environment that they may be in. If needed, place the person in a safe area where they can be laid down flat on their back. If the person you are assisting is in water, make sure to take them to dry land before performing CPR to ensure they are unable to swallow any more water during the CPR attempt. In more extreme conditions such as a car crash or fire, ensure the person is away from the area of danger which can put both them and yourself at risk in the event you begin performing CPR.

2. Verify if the individual you are helping is conscious or unconscious:
Before performing CPR or other measures, figure out if the person you are attempting to help is awake and aware of their condition or if they are fully unconscious. In the event that the person appears to be unconscious, tap or shake the person by the shoulder to see if they respond. If necessary, ask the individual “Hello? Can you hear me?”, “Are you okay?” or other such verbal questions loudly to see if they are able to respond to them before giving CPR. In the event the individual requiring assistance is conscious, ensure that the person is tended to in a way that makes certain they will not fall unconscious. In the event they are unconscious and are not breathing, prepare to perform CPR.

3. If you have company assisting you in helping the individual:
If you are in the company of one or more other people when you have come across a person requiring CPR, use a team system to best serve the individual. The person of the group who is most familiar with CPR measures should begin performing CPR. Another individual in your group should be tasked with contacting 911 or the phone number of any local emergency services, whether that is by using a personal cell phone or otherwise.

4. If you are alone when you are helping the individual:
Before beginning to perform CPR, contact 911 or any local emergency services if you have immediate access to a telephone. In the event you are unfamiliar with performing CPR, the dispatchers who tend these numbers can give you instructions to perform CPR until trained medical professionals can arrive on the scene to take over. In the event there is no access to a telephone, begin CPR immediately.

5. If you have access to an Automated External Defibrillator:
If you are in the vicinity of a local AED device, retrieve it to assist you in performing CPR measures. Most AEDs currently give verbal instructions when the device determines that it is required, delivering a shock to the person’s heart which stops all other activity in an attempt to restore a normal heartbeat. Such a device can greatly increase the likelihood the person will survive.

Following these steps which ensure that the individual you are assisting will have the best possible chance of surviving in the event their heart has stopped beating or have stopped breathing.

Cold Weather Tips for the Elderly

Multiple physiological and behavioral factors that are not found in younger people combine to cause and elevate the danger presented by the cold to the elderly. For instance, elderly persons who suffer from chronic illness and take multiple medications are more vulnerable to the cold temperatures. Poor nutrition and dehydration also make the elderly more vulnerable to colder weather. The cold is also felt less by the elderly, so their ability to control their body temperatures is significantly reduced. Even if an older person does feel cold, it is shown that they tend to be more reluctant to heat their homes in order to reduce heating costs.

Although cold weather poses a higher risk for the elderly, there are plenty of tips and tricks to follow throughout the winter months in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

General Risks

The cold, stormy weather is harder on an older body and can pose serious health risks. During the winter months and snowy weather, the body’s temperature can drop below normal levels and cause hypothermia. Hypothermia can cause multi-system injury and a higher risk of mortality at an older age, as it is more common and harmful in the elderly community.

Like hypothermia, many other cold-weather related health risks are more harmful to older individuals when compared to younger people. Slippery streets and paths, colds, and the flu pose difficulties for seniors whose health may already be compromised by chronic illness. Slipping on something like ice and falling is a major risk for older individuals, as fractured hips have an extremely high mortality rate in elderly patients.

Health Habits to Maintain

During the winter, it is crucial to drink a sufficient amount of water throughout the day, even if one does not feel thirsty. It is recommended to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day to maintain proper health. It is also key to know that eating and drinking warm foods and beverages can help to maintain body heat. One should avoid alcohol and caffeine, but be sure to eat frequent, light meals throughout the day.

Most importantly, the elderly community should stay active even if they cannot leave their homes. Being mobile throughout the day raises body heat and increases blood flow.

Prepare Your Home

It is crucial to know and control the temperature of the dwelling. An ideal temperature should range between 68-75 degrees and can be measured by a simple thermometer. The air in a dwelling should not be too dry or too humid. Sufficient humidity is good, but too much humidity can be a cause of illness. Doors, windows, and any openings which lead to the outdoors should be properly sealed so that the house or apartment can easily maintain a proper temperature, but be sure not to restrict normal, proper ventilation as well.

Dress the Part

Layered, warm, and comfortable clothing is important for protecting against harsh winter climates. Clothing should not restrict movement, but keep heat in. Because our metabolism is so slow in the morning due to lack of activity overnight, it is especially important to dress warmly. At night, flannel sheets, socks, and blankets can help to keep elderly individuals at a good body temperature. While it is best to stay out of the winter weather if you are an older adult, gloves and a hat are recommended in addition to a coat if one needs to brave the elements.

Watch for Ice

Falls are extremely common in the elderly community. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 1.6 million older Americans visit the emergency room each year because of fall-related injuries. During the winter, snow, sleet, and ice make for unfit and slippery conditions, but falls can certainly be prevented with these few tips:

  • Stretch to prepare muscles and improve circulation before heading outside
  • Use any device which may assist, like handrails, or a cane or walker
  • Wear non-slip, sensible footwear
  • Stay on clear paths
  • Sprinkle sand or ice on roads or sidewalks

Even with these helpful tips, it is best to minimize the risk of falling by avoiding going outside in bad weather if at all possible.

When weather conditions are suspected to deteriorate, stock up on necessities and be prepared to be inside for at least a few days. Instead of going somewhere, invite others over, exercise, and plan indoor activities.

Be Firm with Loved Ones and Friends

Although cold weather can sometimes cause depression in older individuals, it is important to follow these tips and keep good health as a number one priority. The colder, winter weather may restrict elderly people from some activities; it is important to know the risks before venturing into stormy weather. It may also be good idea to encourage them to take a CPR course or First Aid course

Summary

Cold weather does not have to be deadly to the elderly. Using common sense, following the simple tips discussed above, and being proactive with your aged friends and relatives will help ensure that they can enjoy safe and warm winters.