The Irish Heart Foundation has today said that the new advice issued by the HSE on performing CPR in the community can help save lives while helping to limit the risk of contracting Covid-19.
The HSE has outlined a number of steps for people to take into consideration if they decide to perform CPR in the community during the pandemic.
Speaking today, Brigid Sinnott, Resuscitation Manager of the Irish Heart Foundation, said: “Over 70% of cardiac arrests happen in the home environment. If there is someone nearby who knows CPR and can start performing compressions quickly, they can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. During this pandemic, we are reiterating the HSE’s advice in promoting hands only CPR which is a lifesaving skill and can make a difference on a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.
“It is worth noting that in most cases an AED will not be immediately available. Therefore, by calling the emergency services on 999 or 112 and starting compressions you can really make a difference.”
The HSE has advised the public to take the below steps when performing CPR during this time, as there is a possibility that the person who has collapsed may have coronavirus.
- At all times keep your hands away from your face.
- If a person has collapsed in a public space, do look for signs of breathing and signs of life.
- Don’t listen or feel for breathing by placing your ear and cheek close to the person’s mouth.
- Dial 112 or 999 and ask for an ambulance. If COVID-19 is suspected, tell them when you call.
- Use an AED as soon as possible. This significantly increases the person’s chances of survival. Place the AED pads on the person’s chest and apply a shock, if prompted by the AED. This is a safe procedure and should be attempted by a first responder.
- Perform chest compressions only. Do not give mouth to mouth rescue breaths. If there is a perceived risk of infection, you should place a cloth/towel over the person’s mouth and nose and attempt compression-only CPR and early defibrillation until help arrives
- Afterwards, clean your hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect the AED if used.
CPR – The Four Steps for Survival
Step 1: If you see a person suddenly collapse, check for a response. Call their name and shake them gently on the shoulder.
Step 2: If there is no response call 112 or 999 immediately to get help on the way.
Step 3: If the person is still not responding and is not breathing normally, then make sure the person is lying flat on their back on the ground. Kneel close beside them and place your two hands on the centre of their chest in line with their nipples, one on top of the other, and keep your arms straight.
Step 4: Start compressions. Push hard and fast. Push down at least five centimetres or two inches and push at a rate of 100-120 beats per minute. The Bee Gees song ‘Stayin’ Alive’ is the perfect CPR rhythm. Keep going until the emergency services arrive.
For more information, visit: www.irishheart.ie.