Hands-Only CPR

If you’re faced with a sudden emergency such as someone has collapsed or drowned and is not breathing, you can still safely perform CPR even during the  COVID-19 pandemic. Compression-only or hands-only CPR is CPR without rescue breaths, so you can help resuscitate someone without exchanging bodily fluids.

According to the American Heart Association 70 percent of cardiac arrests that occur outside the hospital happen at home. Therefore, emergency physicians want you to be prepared to potentially save a life. 

You can perform compression-only CPR by following these two simple steps:

  • Dial 911. It’s crucial to immediately alert emergency services if someone has stopped breathing or is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. By not delaying this call you are giving your loved one a stronger chance of recovery.
  • Begin compressions by pushing down hard in the center of the chest around 100 beats per minute. Emergency physicians recommend timing your compressions to the beat of a familiar song like, Gloria Gaynor’s "I Will Survive," or any other song that is 100 beats per minute—the minimum speed for this form of CPR to be effective.

Unfortunately, according to a recent poll conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 41 percent of adults are unprepared to perform compression-only CPR in the event of an emergency. The primary reasons adults report they would hesitate to intervene in a medical emergency are because they don't have any medical training and they fear they would make the situation worse.

Emergency physicians are taking steps to educate and empower people in communities nationwide to confidently be the help until help arrives. ACEP developed Until Help Arrives, a free, one-hour training course for anyone to learn essential lifesaving skills, like controlling severe bleeding and performing compression-only CPR.

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