Cardiac Arrest and COVID-19: Would You Know What To Do?

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When we wake each morning, probably the first thing most of us think about is the Coronavirus, and how it continues to affect all aspects of our life.

Even during this turbulent time, it’s important to consider that other health issues do not stop just because of the Coronavirus – people are still having strokes, heart attacks, life threatening asthma attacks, and other serious medical emergencies. For example, in each given year there are approximately 30,000 cardiac arrests which will take place out of hospital, and are totally unrelated to COVID-19.

Given the current restrictions we’re all having to live through, the likelihood is we will see a rise in the number of cardiac arrests happening at home. A cardiac arrest is where the heart suddenly stops, and if nothing is done to quickly help the casualty, they will not survive.

In this situation, you should of course call the emergency services; however, we don’t want to wait for them to arrive. Given the current demands on our ambulance service, they may not be able to reach us as quickly as they normally would, and every second counts!

The Resuscitation Council UK, the UK’s resuscitation experts, have issued updated COVID-19 guidance when performing CPR in an out of hospital situation. They are urging people to familiarise themselves with these key skills, in case they need to help a loved one in need.

This updated guidance advises against performing rescue breaths (commonly called ‘mouth to mouth resuscitation’).

If someone falls unconscious and is not breathing normally, do NOT put your face close to theirs. Call for an ambulance and use material like a cloth, or some form of clothing, and lay it over the unconscious person’s mouth and nose to reduce the risk of transmitting infection.

Start chest compressions to the tempo of “Stayin’ Alive” and use a Public Defibrillator (AED) if available. 

DO NOT do mouth to mouth!

Written by Karen Hutchison

KH First Aid Training Ltd

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