June 1- 7 is CPR and AED Awareness Week.

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AED Awareness

Here’s What You Need To Know About These Emergency Procedures

According to the AHA (American Heart Association), 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes. This concern calls for skill reinforcement when performing CPR and trains bystanders to act quickly during emergencies like cardiac arrest.

In the US, approximately 436,000 Americans died from cardiac arrest in one year. However, if CPRs are performed immediately at home or in public settings, we can save more lives and witness a triple chance of survival from cardiac arrests

National CPR and AED Awareness Week: Everyone’s Lives Matter

CPR and AED Awareness Week is an annual event that aims to raise awareness about the importance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automatic external defibrillator (AED) use. During this week-long observance, communities and organizations across the country come together to promote the knowledge and skills needed to potentially save lives in emergency situations.

The American Heart Association (AHA), the American Red Cross, and the National Safety Council have collaborated to designate a specific period each year to raise awareness for a particular cause that can save lives during emergencies. In 2007, the affiliation successfully set June 1-7 as the annual National CPR and AED Awareness Week with the primary purpose of highlighting the importance and need for saving lives through CPR and AED training and techniques.

This week-long event aims to educate and empower individuals to take prompt and effective action in emergency situations, potentially leading to more lives saved and a safer community.

Let us explore this area a little more, as cardio-vascular conditions have a close relation with diabetes.


Why must diabetes patients and their dear ones learn about CPR and AED?

Uncontrolled diabetes is directly linked to heart disease, with potential risk of cardiac arrest.

Learning how to give CPR and use AED are acquired skills. But most importantly, they can save lives, particularly for diabetes patients. Here’s why:

  • Diabetes patients are more susceptible to experiencing cardiac arrest than those without. For example, a diabetic coma will require CPR if medical help isn’t available.
  • Being knowledgeable about CPR and AED helps in times of emergencies. For diabetes patients’ loved ones, learning to perform CPR and use an AED will help prevent fatalities. These acquired skills help them become more prepared and capable of responding to emergencies.

What are CPR and AED?

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It is an emergency life-saving procedure that anyone can perform when a person’s heartbeat and breathing stops or in a near drowning experience. It is primarily indicated for any person under cardiac arrest. The procedure combines chest compressions, performed with rescue breaths to maintain proper blood flow and oxygenation until medical assistance arrives at the scene. 

On the other hand, AED, or Automated External Defibrillator, is an electronic device that helps people experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest, a condition characterized by a sudden halt of the heartbeat. An AED delivers an electronic shock to the heart, restoring its rhythm and function. If not used immediately, cardiac arrest can lead to death. 

What are the basics of CPR and AED?

Before resorting to CPR and AED, it is essential to identify a heart attack. The following symptoms confirm a heart attack and should be followed by performing the emergency procedures:

  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Pain in the shoulders, arms, and neck
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme tiredness

In severe cases, the patient may become unconscious after these symptoms. Performing these emergency procedures is a must in these cases.

How do you give CPR?

Here are the basic steps involved in giving CPR:

  1. Assess the situation by checking the safety of the scene.
  2. Check if the person is responsive. Ask loudly, “Are you okay?”.
  3. If the person is unresponsive, call for help. You can call emergency services or ask someone nearby to call them on your behalf.
  4. Open the person’s airway, in this case, their mouth. You can also place the person on a firm surface to ensure they are safe during CPR.
  5. Check if the person is breathing normally or not breathing at all. You can watch for chest movement and listen for breathing sounds.
  6. If the person isn’t breathing, you can begin the chest compressions.
  7. Kneel beside the person and give 30 chest compressions. Here is the proper way of performing chest compressions:
  8. For the hand position, place two hands centered on the chest.
  9. For the body position, direct shoulders over the hands with elbows locked.
  10. Compress the chest 2 inches deep at 100-120 compressions per minute.
  11. Let the chest recoil after each compression.
  12. After 30 compressions, give rescue breaths. Follow these steps:
  13. Pinch the person’s nose and place your mouth over their mouth.
  14. Provide two rescue breaths that should make their chest arise.
  15. Each rescue breath should last 1 second before giving another breath.
  16. Continue performing the CPR until AED becomes available or emergency services have arrived.

Precautions while giving a CPR

Before performing CPR, there are precautions to ensure the procedure’s safety and effectiveness.

  1. Ensure the environment where you will give CPR is safe, well-ventilated and away from hazards.
  2. Do not immediately proceed to CPR if you have not verified the person’s unresponsiveness.
  3. Always call for help, especially if you are alone in the scene.
  4. Ensure proper positioning when giving CPR.
  5. If untrained in CPR, you can still provide CPR by doing the hands-only procedure.
  6. Perform CPR continuously until help arrives.
  7. Even if you are trained for emergencies like this, always seek professional medical assistance immediately.

Where can you learn how to give CPR?

You can learn how to give CPR through training. The following organizations and establishments can help you.

  1. Local Red Cross. The Red Cross organization offers training courses for emergencies, such as CPR. You can benefit from their trained instructors and learn about the basics of CPR.
  2. Local hospitals. Your local hospitals may offer training courses for CPR and other first-aid techniques.
  3. Community centers. Many community centers provide healthcare training as part of their educational programs.
  4. Fire departments. Fire departments and EMS (emergency medical services) provide free CPR training to the community.
  5. Online CPR courses. Enroll in an online course under medical emergency services to learn more about CPR procedures.
  6. Youtube: Visit a credible YouTube channel for instructional or “how-to” videos.

How to use AED (automated external defibrillator)?

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are important life-saving devices that can help restore a regular heartbeat during sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) emergencies. Here are the general steps to follow when using an AED:

  1. Quickly assess the situation and ensure that the person needing treatment is lying flat and free of any metal or conductive material.
  2. Turn on the AED and follow the voice or visual prompts to attach the adhesive pads to the person’s bare chest. The pads should be placed in the locations shown on the pads or on the AED.
  3. Stand clear and let the AED analyze the person’s heart rhythm. If a shock is needed, the AED will prompt you to deliver it. Make sure no one is touching the person during the shock.
  4. Immediately resume CPR for two minutes, starting with chest compressions, if no shock is needed. Follow the AED prompts for timing.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until emergency medical personnel arrive and take over.

Note: Remember, AEDs are designed to be used by anyone, even without prior training. However, taking a CPR and AED training course can help you feel more confident and prepared to use an AED in an emergency. Start CPR after using the AED or when no shock is required. It is also essential to note that AEDs have built-in safety measures. It ensures that delivering a shock will only be performed when needed.