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Archive for October, 2012

CPR

Knowing how to accurately perform CPR, which is also known as Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, is not only essential but it is also life saving.  According to the American Heart Association, “about 92 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital, but statistics prove that if more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.  Immediate CPR can double, or even triple, a victim’s chance of survival.”  If you’re not sure of what a cardiac arrest is, it occurs when your heart stops beating and the blood will stop circulating around your body. 

 

The causes of a cardiac arrest can include the following:

  • Disturbance in the heart rhythm
  • Drugs or poisoning
  • Heart attach or heart disease
  • Blood loss

 

Do you know how to give someone CPR? Regardless of whether or not you do or don’t, I highly recommend reviewing the below information. You can save a loved one’s life by accurately administering CPR on them if ever needed. Please note that this article includes information on how to administer CPR on adults, NOT children. There is a different procedure on administering CPR on children, which we will discuss at a later time.

 

Compressions: considered to be one of the most important parts of adult CPR. When you perform compressions on someone, you pump blood to the brain and heart.

 

Steps to performing compression:

1. Kneel at the victim’s side

2. Make sure the victim is lying on his back on a firm and flat surface. Carefully roll the victim on his back if the victim is face down.

3. Move or remove the clothes from the front of the chest because the clothing will get in the way of doing compressions

4. Put the heel of one hand on the center of the victim’s chest between the nipples. Please refer to Figure A below. Put the heel of your other hand on top of the first hand. Please refer to Figure B below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is extremely important to keep the following tips in mind when performing CPR:

  • Push hard and push fast
  • Push at a rate of 100 times a minute
  • After each compression, release pressure on the chest to let it come back to its normal position.

 

When performing CPR, you have to give the victim breaths that make the chest rise. Before giving breaths, you have to open the airway with the head tilt chin lift.

 

Steps in performing the head tilt chin lift:

1. Tilt the head by pushing back on the forehead

2. Lift the chin by putting your fingers on the bony part

3. Lift the chin to move the jaw forward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving breaths: your breaths give oxygen to someone who can’t breathe on his or her own.

 

Steps for giving breaths:

1. Hold the airway open with a head tilt chin lift

2. Pinch the nose closed

3. Take a normal breath and cover the victim’s mouth with your mouth, creating an airtight seal.

4. Give 2 breaths (blow for 1 second each). Watch the chest rise as you give each breath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compression and Breaths: when you are performing CPR, you should do sets of 30 compressions and 2 breaths. Try to not interrupt chest compressions for more than a few seconds.

 

Check for response: you should check to see if the victim is responding before giving CPR. Kneel at the victim’s side and tap the victim and shout “Are you OK?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Breathing: Once you have checked the victim for a response, you must then check to see if the victim is breathing normally. Make sure that the victim is lying face up on a firm and flat surface.

 

Steps for checking the breathing:

1. Open the victim’s airway with a head tilt chin lift

2. Check to see if the victim is breathing normally (takes at least 5 seconds but no more than 10 seconds).

 

  • Put your ear next to the victim’s mouth and nose
  • Look to see if the chest rises
  • Listen for breaths
  • Feel for breaths on your cheek.

 

Special Situations

1. Gasping vs. Breathing: In the next few minutes after sudden cardiac arrest, a victim may only gaps. Keep in mind that gasping is NOT breathing.  If the victim gasps when you open the airway to check breathing, continue the CPR steps. The victim is likely to need all of the steps.

2. Side Position: If the victim is breathing normally but is not responding, roll the victim to his side and wait for trained help to take over. If the victim stops moving again, you’ll need to start the steps of CPR from the beginning.

Snake and Insect Bites

Insect and snakebites can be an additional nuisance if you find yourself in the wilderness.  They can cause allergic reactions, irritations and even spread diseases like rabies or malaria.

 

For instance, tics carry Lyme disease.  Mosquitos transmit malaria and dengue.  Flies spread sleeping sickness, typhoid, cholera and dysentery.  Fleas transmit the plague and lice transmit typhus as well as relapsing fever.

 

Insect Bites

ticks

In order to prevent stings from insects, it is best to keep insect repellants and netting.  Wear long sleeved clothing with long pants if possible and avoid insect infested areas.  Also, make sure to get your immunizations up to date and get your booster shots.

 

If you happen to get bitten or stung, do not scratch the bite or sting because this may cause an infection.  Make sure that there are no insects attached to your body to avoid being bitten again.  If you happen to find ticks, you need to cover them with a heavy oil, Vaseline or tree sap so that you can cut off their air supply.  Once it releases its hold, you can get it off of you using tweezers.  Make sure to take off the whole tick without squeezing its body.  Wash your hands afterwards and properly clean the wound daily.  Also, make sure to keep antibiotics handy for flea, tick, louse and fly diseases.  Also drink a Benadryl and get to a doctor if you can.

 

Bee Stings

bee sting

If a bee stings you, do not panic.  Remove the stinger and venom sac if you see it attached.  You can remove the stinger by scraping it off with a knife or fingernail.  Do not squeeze it to avoid more venom going into the wound.  Wash it off with soap and water to keep from getting an infection.  Carry an insect sting kit with you if you know you have allergic reactions to stings.  For temporary relief and prevention of secondary infections you can use antiseptic packets especially designed for stings.  Put on a cold compress.  You can also use onion, crushed cloves of garlic or coconut meat to help relieve some of the pain.

 

Spider Bites

 black widdow

Watch out for those black widows with the hourglass figure on their abdomen.  Only the females bite and it can develop into sever pain.  This pain spreads throughout the entire body and eventually settles in the abdomen and legs.  It may cause nausea, vomiting and a rash.  Sweating, weakness, and tremors may also follow.  It takes a few hours to dissipate and a couple of days to fully recover.  Clean and care for the wound and treat for shock.  An antivenin is available for this type of bite.  Treating for a tarantula bite would be similar to the treatment for black widow bite.

 

Scorpion Bites

scorpion

There are two different reactions to scorpion bites.  The first is a local reaction with pain and swelling around the stung area.  The second is a severe systematic reaction with respiratory difficulties, thick feeling tongue, body spasms, drooling, gastric distention, double vision, blindness, involuntary rapid movement of the eyeballs, involuntary urination and defecation, and heart failure.  Death is rare in healthy adults.  However, children and adults with high blood pressure or illness can die from this type of reaction.  The treatment is the same as for a black widow.  Get to a doctor as soon as you can.

 

Snakebites

 poisonous snake

Familiarize yourself with the different types of snakes that are most common in your surrounding wilderness areas.  Being able to identify them can help you tell if they are poisonous or not and what treatment to use.  Snakebites are uncommon but if you know how to treat them, you can avoid needless tragedy.  Death from snakebites is rare and more than half of snakebite victims have little to no poisoning.  When bitten, it is important not to panic because it can spread the toxin more quickly if you do.  Keep the wound below your heart and move as little as possible to keep the blood circulation slow.  Use a constricting band between the wound and the heart.  Mechanical suction devices can be used to remove the poison but never use your mouth to suck the poison out because you will ingest the venom.  Get to a doctor as soon as possible.  Injecting yourself with antivenom can complicate your reaction so avoid doing that on your own.

 

Always be vigilant and avoid insects and snakes as much as possible.  Clean all your wounds and care for them with caution.  See a medical professional as soon as you possibly can.  If you are forced to care for these wounds out in the wilderness educate yourself about what proper steps to take and it can help save your life.