CPR Basics: How to Save a Life

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease.

With such grim statistics, it’s essential to learn CPR basics if and when you find yourself in a situation where someone may need your help. You could be the difference between them losing their life or not. 

Read below to get started. 

CPR Basics 

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a lifesaving technique that anyone can learn and perform. It is extremely useful in health emergencies when someone’s heart has stopped beating or when someone has heart problems, such as with the types of afib, heart attacks, and near-drownings. 

It can be daunting to do CPR if you are untrained or have never performed it, but doing anything at all is better than doing nothing. CPR can help keep the oxygen in your blood flowing to your brain and other vital organs until a health professional can take over. 

When the brain is oxygen-deprived, brain damage can occur in only a few minutes. Read below to learn the basics of performing CPR. 

Before You Start

Evaluate your surroundings and the person’s condition before conducting CPR. Make sure you are somewhere safe and check to see if the person is conscious or unconscious. 

If they appear unconscious, tap them and loudly ask if they are okay. If they don’t respond, call 911 and begin CPR.

Always call 911 first so medical professionals can already be on their way before starting. 

Spell C-A-B

The basics of CPR come down to three letters: C-A-B.

The C refers to chest compressions, which can help you to restore blood flow. This is the most crucial step of CPR and should be done first. To do compressions, you’ll need to push down hard and fast in a specific way. 

The person should be on their back, and you should kneel at their shoulders. Place the heel of your hand on the center of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand, keep your elbows straight, and use your entire body weight to press down. 

You should be pushing hard and doing 100 to 120 compressions per minute. It is recommended to do compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.

The A refers to airways, which should only be addressed if you are trained in CPR. After about 30 compressions, you’ll open their airway by gently tilting their head back and lifting their chin forward. 

The B refers to breathing, in which you would breathe air into the person’s lungs. After opening the airway, you’ll give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by breathing two breaths into the person’s mouth. 

Give one breath, see if the chest rises, and then give the second breath. After doing so, resume compressions to help to restore blood flow. 

Stay Prepared and Save a Life

Staying prepared and learning CPR basics can help you save someone, which is always worth it. Remember, if you get scared in the moment, doing anything to help could be the difference between saving or losing a life. 

If you are only comfortable doing chest compressions, then do that. If you have the opportunity to get trained in CPR, take it!

For more health-related articles, browse through our collection of blog posts. 

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