Thursday, May 24, 2007

A few hours of your time can save a life

First Aid and CPR – a few hours of your time can save a life.

I’m a huge proponent for people learning first aid and CPR. In fact, I think that kids shouldn’t be able to graduate from high school without CPR. I know that the curriculum is packed already, but surely we could find a way to squeeze a few hours into health or phys ed courses?

I renewed my CPR certification last week. It’s so incredibly easy now compared to when I first learned in the 70s and 80s. Back then, we had to remember different ratios depending on if you were doing CPR alone or with someone else, and depending on if it was a child or an adult you were helping. Not only that, but the mannequins that we practiced on had breathing monitors and you have to be able to do artificial respiration in a way that you could see how hard you breathed in and how well you did it.

It’s *so* different now. One thing to remember for everyone. The only difference is that the compressions for a child are not as hard as for an adult.

I used to teach first aid. I took a course offered by the Canadian Red Cross and I was a certified instructor. I loved teaching it. Most of my classes were Boy Scout and Girl Guide leaders, but I did other groups too. I used to meet so many people who would say, “I can’t take a first aid course, I panic when there’s an emergency.” I’d reply, “of course you panic! You don’t know what to do!”

It’s true. If you take a first aid course, or a CPR course, you learn several things. But the most basic and important thing is how to call for help. I used to tell my students that if all they remembered from my course a year from then was how to call for help properly, they’ve learned something. If they remembered how to secure the area, they learned something, and so on. Every little thing they learned was something that they now knew, and didn’t know before.

If someone you loved started choking in a restaurant or in a public place, wouldn't you want someone to know what to do? If *you* began showing signs and symptoms of a stroke, wouldn't you want someone to know what to do? So, maybe you can be that person for someone else.

It doesn’t take long to learn first aid and it doesn’t take long to learn CPR. I can’t think of many better ways to spend a few hours. If you never need it, that’s great. But isn’t it great to know how to do something if you do need it?

News for today:
Maritime mumps outbreak blamed on waning immunity
Long-term ulcerative colitis study shows Remicade responders maintained improvement
High-salt diet link to ulcer risk

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