American Heart Association debuts new CPR, first aid rules

File photo of CPR procedure being demonstrated on a test dummy.

The American Heart Association and American Red Cross have issued new CPR and first aid guidelines, the first such revisions since 2005. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Rama/Wikipedia)

Knowing your A-B-Cs will no longer get you to the head of the class with the American Heart Association, reports CBS News. Now, C-A-B is A-OK when it comes to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The American Red Cross and American Heart Association have released new CPR and first aid guidelines with a new order for CPR: Compression, Airway then Breathing. Being a card-carrying lifesaver will require learning the steps in this new order.

American Heart Association wants to keep your blood pumping

Chest compressions are vital to maintaining blood circulation, says the American Heart Association. Starting with compressions can save lives. After calling 911, chest compressions should be used on an unresponsive person without a pulse. One hand should be on top of the other, with fingers interlaced. Chest compressions should come hard and fast, about two inches deep at 100 times per minute, and the chest should not be leaned upon between compressions. After 30 compressions, check the victim’s airway by tilting the head back. Pinch the nose and give two one-second mouth to mouth breaths, making sure the chest rises.

Changes to first aid

The American Red Cross and American Heart Association have also revised procedures for first aid on victims of snake bites, anaphylactic shock, jellyfish stings and heavy bleeding. The new guidelines are being published in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.”  According to Red Cross adviser Dr. David Markenson, “It is vital that the first aid community come to consensus and speak in a clear voice on these life and death issues.”

Vinegar and baby aspirin

One interesting change that made it through the American Red Cross and American Heart Association’s joint advisory board is using vinegar to treat jellyfish stings. Not only does vinegar neutralize the venom, it may prevent it from spreading. Changes to treating snake bites and anaphylaxis are more procedural. Key points for the latter scenario include the use of a second epinephrine shot and emphasizing direct pressure over substances that stop bleeding. For those suffering chest pain, use of low-dose baby aspirin is advised if the victim is not allergic and hasn’t had either a stroke or recent bleeding.

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