Scary Fact #2 (CPR)

First Aid Kit Drawing

Hi, it’s Steven St. Laurent, the Spanish OSHA Guy! In my previous post I spoke about how you don’t ever have to worry about liability when helping in a First Aid, CPR or AED situation. Now I want to put to rest what I call Scary Fact #2:

Infection!

This is one of the 3 big reasons why trained lay-people don’t want to help in an emergency: People don’t want to get HIV (AIDS) or Hepatitis C. As of the writing of this blog post, both of these bloodborne viruses are life-long, chronic, have no cure and ensure an early death will ensue.

Here is what you must do in order to not get HIV or Hep C from helping in a First Aid/CPR/AED situation:

Use a barrier device.

Here is why you don’t have to worry about getting HIV or Hep C from helping in a First Aid/CPR/AED situation:

When using a barrier device, the chances of you getting infected with HIV or Hep C from helping in a First Aid/CPR situation are equivalent to winning the lottery twice. That’s right: Twice! That is what my American Heart Association (AHA) Training Center has instructed me to teach in my classes.

Okay, so let’s talk barrier devices, shall we?

There is no more “mouth-to-mouth” resuscitation. (My apologies to all teenage boys who have long fantasized of performing mouth-to-mouth on the most beautiful girl in school. It ain’t gonna happen.) That was out many years ago in the recommended guidelines that we teach in First Aid/CPR classes. What is recommended now doesn’t sound as cool, but is well worth it. We call it “mouth-to-barrier” resuscitation. When performing CPR you must breathe. If you want more on that, check out my Video Blog Post entitled “CPR: The TRUTH about not Breathing!” And when you breathe, we only recommend breathing with a barrier. A barrier means your shirt, their shirt, your sock, a pillow case, or any other fabric you might find handy. I’m not kidding. This is what AHA instructors recommend and teach. Also, barrier devices include gloves and anything to protect your skin, eyes, nose and mouth from contact with the other person’s blood or body fluids.

A barrier device reduces the chances of infection with these viruses to the equivalent of winning the lottery twice because a barrier device prevents contact with an infected-person’s blood.

QUESTION: How do you get infected with HIV or Hep C? Great question. I’m glad you asked. 🙂

ANSWER: Blood-to-blood contact.

That means someone’s infected blood must come into contact with your blood. This could happen by the infected person’s blood splashing on your open wound, cut, scrape or scab. This could also happen by the infected person’s blood splashing in your eyes, nose or mouth. Therefore, you must protect your eyes, nose, mouth and skin with a barrier device.

Regarding HIV/AIDS, there are only 4 body fluids that transmission has been traced to: Breast Milk, Semen, Vaginal Fluid and Blood. Since we are talking about helping out in an First Aid/CPR/AED situation, let’s leave out the sexually transmitted aspect of HIV transmission. This leaves us with the blood. Now, Hepatitis C transmission has only been traced to blood-to-blood contact. For more detail on transmission of HIV and Hepatitis C and to find out where I got my information on transmission of these 2 viruses, check out the CDC’s website. That is the “Center for Disease Control”. Use the “A-Z Index” to navigate and read about Hepatitis or any other disease you want to learn about. I got my information from that site as well as from my AHA Training Center as one of their Certified Instructors.

Finally, no transmission of HIV or Hep C has ever been traced to performing CPR. I cannot guarantee with 100% certainty that you will not become infected, but I am saying what my AHA Training Center teaches: If you use a barrier device while performing First Aid/CPR, the chances of you becoming infected with these 2 bloodborne diseases is equivalent to winning the lottery, twice.

Bang. Done. Scary Fact #2 put to rest!

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