One of the easiest ways to save a life
I believe absolutely everyone should learn CPR and chest compressions. It could literally be the difference between life and death for a friend, loved one, or a complete stranger.
But it's that last part that puts many people off -- the stranger.
It's not that people don't want to help a stranger. It's the idea of performing rescue breathing -- aka "mouth-to-mouth" -- on someone who is not only a stranger, but who also is ill.
If that's what's keeping you from learning CPR or putting those skills to use when they're needed, I have some good news for you: You don't need to perform mouth-to-mouth to save a life.
A growing number of studies show that chest compressions alone are often enough to help. And now, the latest research finds that people revived after cardiac arrest actually have a better long-term outlook when they get chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth.
This study looked at data from two trials covering more than 3,200 adult victims of cardiac arrest, most of whom suffered heart problems rather than injury or accident.
The patients given only chest compressions were 9 percent more likely to survive for at least a year when compared to those given chest compressions with rescue breathing.
Like I said earlier, there's a growing body of evidence to support this approach. Even the American Heart Association now recommends that bystanders who are called on to perform CPR skip the mouth-to-mouth.
And that means learning CPR -- and putting it into practice if needed -- is now easier than ever.
You can read plenty about it online and there are even apps that can walk you through the technique, but nothing beats actual practice. Contact either the Red Cross or your local fire department to see where classes may be offered in your area.
They're inexpensive (or even free) and won't take up too much of your time -- and what you learn could save a life.