How to Do CPR

CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is a lifesaving procedure that can help save a person who is in cardiac arrest. It consists of chest compressions and rescue breaths, which can restart the heart and get oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

The best time to start CPR is right after a person goes into cardiac arrest and before they lose consciousness. The person should be able to move their arms and legs, and have an open airway.

Before you start CPR, make sure you can reach all of the patient’s airways, which include their nose, mouth and throat. If there are any obstructions, such as vomit, loose teeth or an object blocking the airway, clear them out with your finger.

Put the person in a neutral position, such as on their back or lying face down on a surface. Check their breathing by looking for a rise and fall in their chest or their lungs.

If they don’t breathe, push down on their chest with your upper body at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Push until their chest is pushed down to at least 2 inches and then release the pressure. Repeat the compression cycle until they start to breathe or medical help arrives.

During the chest compressions, pause every 30 seconds or so to give the person two mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. Do this until you can’t do them anymore or until someone else can take over the compressions.

The rescue breaths can be done with your mouth or with the patient’s mouth closed. If you can’t do mouth-to-mouth, continue with chest compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions every minute and pause for rescue breaths between sets.

You can learn how to do CPR from a training course or class. Some AHA lifesaving courses are completely online, and others require you to attend a classroom session before you receive your training card.

When you’re ready to do CPR, begin by placing the person on their back or lying face down on padded material. Place the heel of one hand over the lower half of the patient’s chest and extend the other hand up to the center of their sternum. The size of the person will determine if you can do CPR with 1 or 2 hands.

Use your hands to push straight down on the patient’s chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions. The depth of each compression should be ‘2 inches down, all the way up’.

If you’re unsure how to do CPR, ask a health care provider or an adult nearby who knows what to do. If you can’t find a healthcare provider nearby, contact the American Red Cross for a free CPR training in your area.

Once you have completed the training, you’ll have a certification that will allow you to use it at any time to help people in need. Most importantly, you’ll be able to save lives!

If you’re interested in becoming a certified CPR provider, check out ShopCPR for a wide range of AHA lifesaving training courses that are available online. These include AHA Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Heartsaver CPR.

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