Are you getting ready to take a CPR class? Alternatively, maybe you just finished one. Now that you know the basics of performing CPR, can you identify a situation where immediate first aid is necessary? What are the symptoms you should look for?
Knowing how to perform CPR is half the battle. One additional, crucial step is correctly identifying when CPR is needed and when you can stop. Though it’s generally common sense to tell when someone needs CPR, it’s important to understand the specific signs to watch for.
The Patient is Having Trouble Breathing
Cardiac arrest usually causes the victim’s breathing to slow or stop entirely. If a person is not breathing, it’s a safe assumption that they likely need CPR. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if you see the victim occasionally gasping for breath. Sometimes a heart attack doesn’t completely stop the person from breathing. You should mostly look to see if the breathing appears normal or not.
Pro Tip: Before beginning CPR, always call 911 or tell a bystander to make the call. Emergency services can take over when they arrive.
The Patient is Unconscious or Unresponsive
Don’t bother checking for a pulse if the patient is completely passed out. When a person’s heart is struggling enough to cause unconsciousness, they need CPR immediately. Tap the person’s shoulder and loudly say, “Are you ok?” If you don’t get a response, begin chest compressions and rescue breaths immediately.
You Can Safely Approach the Patient
You can’t help a victim of cardiac arrest if you put yourself in danger as well. Check the area to make sure you can safely approach. Was the patient electrocuted by a falling power line? If you suspect that the area around them is highly dangerous, you can help the most by keeping your distance and calling 911 immediately.
Learn to Recognize an Emergency
Your newfound CPR skills could save a life one day–you never know. But a crucial part of your training should be educating yourself to recognize when emergency first aid is needed. Know the symptoms and exactly how to respond.
Join the conversation to learn more about recognizing and handling emergency situations.