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Make Your CPR More Effective by Avoiding Common Mistakes

TL;DR: Proper CPR knowledge is essential for saving lives during emergencies, such as cardiac arrest. Common CPR mistakes include not checking for breathing, ignoring safety hazards, interrupting compressions, failing to allow chest recoil, over-ventilating, and hesitating due to a lack of confidence. El Paso Police Department highlights the importance of CPR training to avoid these errors. Enrolling in a CPR class improves skills, confidence, and the likelihood of successfully aiding someone in a medical crisis.

In many cardiac arrest accidents, a bystander or friend who knows how to perform CPR correctly can tip the scale and save the victim’s life. You can’t hesitate to act or falter because the smallest mistake can lead to a negative outcome during those situations.

Even the El Paso Police Department recognizes the importance of CPR and trains its recruits to ensure they’re ready to act during an emergency. They’re normally the first to arrive at the scene of an accident or during a medical crisis and must know the correct techniques to give aid effectively.

Without proper training, attempts at CPR could be riddled with mistakes, potentially doing more harm than good. This article will focus on a few common mistakes when performing CPR and tell you how to avoid them so that you gain enough confidence to help without hesitation or mistakes.

Forgetting to Check for Breathing

One of the big slip-ups during CPR is not checking if the person is still breathing. Before starting chest compressions or rescue breaths, you must confirm if the person is or isn’t breathing. If they’re unconscious but breathing normally, there’s no need for CPR.

That’s another mistake people usually make. They confuse occasional gasps for normal breathing. Those agonal breaths aren’t effective breathing at all. They’re a reflex action from the body, signaling severe distress. If you don’t start chest compressions assuming the person can breathe, you’re missing a critical window to help them.

Ignoring Potential Hazards at the Scene

In the heat of the moment, a mistake many bystanders make is not ensuring it’s safe to perform CPR. If you’re not careful, you can put yourself in danger and further hurt the victim. Before you perform CPR, take a quick but careful look around and take a tally of your surroundings:

    • Are there any electrical hazards, such as exposed wires or water near electrical equipment?

    • Is there traffic nearby that could pose a danger?

    • Are there any signs of hazardous materials or fire?

    • Are there signs of ongoing physical violence?

It’s easy to focus solely on the person in need and forget about your surroundings. If you’re in a dangerous situation, like near ongoing traffic or a confined space with harmful substances, your efforts could end in both you and the victim suffering further injuries or worse.

In some cases, you might need to move the victim to a safer location before starting CPR – but only if you can do so without causing them additional harm.

Ignoring these environmental hazards can have serious consequences. Besides the immediate physical dangers, there could be legal implications if your actions worsen the situation. Your role is to provide help without compromising safety.

Interrupting Compressions Frequently

One common mistake that can significantly reduce the effectiveness of CPR is interrupting compressions too often. Some people stop to check for signs of consciousness or because they’re unsure of what they’re doing. Most often, they stop because they’re tired. Performing continuous chest compressions is physically demanding and requires some strength.

Some research shows that resuscitators can get tired after one minute of non-stop CPR. If you’re not alone, switch roles with someone who can continue the compressions with minimal interruption. This teamwork approach means the person receiving CPR gets consistent support, which is vital for survival.

Not Allowing Complete Chest Recoil

Allowing for chest recoil is as vital as the compressions themselves. Each time you press down on the chest, you’re pumping the heart, forcing blood out to the body’s vital organs. But it’s the moment you release the pressure when the chest rises completely that the heart fills up with blood.

If you don’t give the chest enough time to recoil fully, the heart won’t adequately refill with blood before the next compression. This limits the amount of blood circulating with each pump, reducing the effectiveness of your efforts. Failing to let the chest fully rise is like trying to fill a cup with water but only opening the tap halfway.

Over-Ventilation During CPR

Over-ventilation happens when you give too many breaths or the breaths you give are too forceful. Over-ventilating a patient can lead to increased pressure in the chest and lungs, reducing the heart’s ability to refill with blood between compressions. This scenario can decrease the amount of blood circulating in the body.

To avoid this, follow the recommended guidelines:

    • Provide one breath every 6 seconds, or about ten breaths per minute

    • Ensure these breaths are just enough to make the chest visibly rise

    • Don’t blow too hard when giving rescue breaths

Practicing the correct technique during CPR training sessions can help you develop muscle memory so you can get it right when it counts. Keep your focus on delivering high-quality chest compressions with minimal interruptions and only provide breaths as necessary, avoiding the temptation to overdo it.

Lack of Confidence and Hesitation

Many people allow the fear of doing something wrong to stop them from performing CPR. Such anxiety leads to hesitation, which isn’t beneficial for the victim. Everyone must know the benefits of CPR far outweigh the risks of injury. When someone’s heart stops, stepping in promptly and confidently can almost double their chances of survival.

CPR training and regular refreshers can help build this confidence, making the steps of CPR almost second nature to you. But even without formal training, doing something is better than doing nothing. Focus on the basics: push hard and fast in the center of the chest without stopping until help takes over.

Neglecting Post-CPR Care

You’re not done after performing CPR, even if the person is breathing again. You must keep an eye on them to see if they stay stable. Ensure they’re comfortable, preferably lying in the recovery position, if they’re unconscious but breathing. That will keep their airway clear and reduce the risk of choking.

Continuously check their responsiveness. Talk to them, ask simple questions, and see if they can follow your commands. This will help you assess their condition and determine if they’re better or worse.

How to Prepare for Emergencies

Enrolling in a CPR class in El Paso will teach you how to perform CPR properly. In addition to a theoretical lecture, you’ll also participate in hands-on practice of the techniques you learn. The certified instructors will monitor you during this practice and will help you improve your skills.

Even if you’re certified, consider attending a CPR renewal class. Because you don’t use them regularly, your CPR skills can fade after a while. Updating your knowledge through various CPR resources will help you stay sharp. Techniques can evolve, and refreshing your knowledge will catch you up with the latest recommendations.

Avoid Mistakes With CPR Training in El Paso, TX

Correctly performing CPR can positively change the outcome during accidents or other medical emergencies. Common mistakes when performing CPR happen often, but you can minimize them by being well-prepared. CPR that’s performed without hesitation and errors can improve an SCA victim’s chances of recovery.

If you want to be prepared during a medical emergency and be sure of what you’re doing, you can enroll in a CPR class in El Paso. You’ll learn proper CPR techniques, how to give first aid, and how to use an AED. After your training, you can be confident in your ability to help everyone, from adults to small children. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake stop you from helping someone in need and book a class now!