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Knowing CPR can be a life saver

Written by Silusapho Nyanda

With summer and the festive season upon us, knowing what to do in an emergency can save a life.

Choking, smoke inhalation or drowning can happen suddenly and getting help can be the difference between life and death.

Being able to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be crucial.

 The Western Cape Department of Health says CPR is an emergency procedure done to manually keep the brain functioning.

This life-saving technique is very useful in many emergencies, including heart attacks or near drownings, where someone's breathing or heartbeat has stopped.”

The best way to perform CPR is to follow the Circulation, Airway and Breathing method (CAB system) which helps a first-responder remember the sequence of steps during CPR.

The Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa (RCSA) said when performing CPR on an unconscious adult the procedure is 30 thrusts in the middle of the chest, followed by two breaths on the unconscious victim. CPR must continue until help arrives.

When performing CPR on a child who is choking, the child gets five back slaps and up to five chest thrusts. Next, one must open the baby’s mouth to look for and remove any visible foreign material.

If this works, you place the patient in the recovery position and check for continued adequate breathing, reassessing the patient continuously.

If this does not work, one must apply 30 chest compressions, then look inside the mouth and remove any foreign object, and administer two breaths until the baby is able to breathe again or help arrives.

If you're alone and have immediate access to a telephone, call the ambulance yourself before beginning CPR.

For more information on performing CPR,  visit https://www. westerncape.gov.za/ general-publication/ cardiopulmonaryresuscitation-cpr. Alternatively, phone the RCSA at 011 478 3989 or visit: www.resus.co.za