(UNDATED) – As most Americans continue to spend more of their time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds of cardiac arrests in a home setting are likely to increase, according to the American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives.
Each year, June 1-7 is designated as National CPR and AED Awareness Week and this year, the significance is especially striking.
More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year, with about 70 percent happening in homes. Fortunately, Hands-Only CPR can be performed by family or household members. During a pandemic, household members may be the lowest risk providers of CPR at home because they have likely already been exposed if in fact, the cardiac arrest victim has COVID-19.
“Rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, performing immediate CPR in the case of cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s odds of survival,” said Jim England, a local volunteer with the American Heart Association whose life was saved by bystander CPR several years ago. “If you are willing and able to do CPR, you should do CPR, even during this pandemic.”
Hands-Only CPR involves two simple steps and anyone can learn it from this 90-second video.
Step 1: If a teen or adult in your home suddenly collapses, call 911 immediately.
Step 2: Place one hand on top of the other as shown in the video and push hard and fast on the victim’s chest.
People feel more confident performing Hands-Only CPR and are more likely to remember the correct rate when trained to the beat of a familiar song. Rescuers should push on the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 beats per minute and the American Heart Association advises following the beat of any of several songs including “Stayin’ Alive,” by the Bee Gees, “Crazy in Love,” by Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, “Hips Don’t Lie,” by Shakira” or “Walk the Line,” by Johnny Cash.
Take advantage of shelter-in-place time and brush up on your Hands-Only CPR skills; they might save someone you love.