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Life saving techniques easy to use with CPR basics

By Staff | Apr 3, 2012

At the Life Center during Diabetes Alert Day, Hank and Judy Parsons from Williamsport are learning some basic life-saving CPR techniques from Rebecca A. Lewis, a nurse consultant with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Health.

MUNCY – Life saving emergency techniques and a free kit were given to all participants who attended a CPR Anytime class at the Life Center last Tuesday in the Lycoming Mall. This free health education event was one of three offered by Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania and Susquehanna Health to help increase an awareness about diabetes prevention and healthy living.

Free screenings, interactive displays, and diabetes risk assessments were offered from 10 to 2 on Tuesday, March 27.

The CPR Anytime Course is a way for the public to learn some basics about CPR without obtaining the certification. It is a hands-on learning session that informs family and friends how to perform CPR in case of an emergency or sudden illness. Hank and Judy Parsons from Williamsport said that they have a grandson with cardiovascular problems and wanted to be better equipped. “This refresher course instills confidence for us,” they said.

Instructor, Rebecca Lewis, an RN and chronic disease nurse consultant with the Pennsylvania Department of Health facilitated the hands on training with a kit purchased by them that included a mini Annie Doll, booklet and DVD to take home and share so others can learn CPR too. The CPR Anytime course is a 30 to 45 minute Red Cross program designed for the general public. “This is one way to help others learn about CPR,” said Robin Dawson director of the Life Center who also confirmed that the program will be offered on a regular basis.

About 75 to 80 percent of all sudden cardiac arrests happen at home so CPR can make a difference between life and death, sometimes doubling or tripling the chances for survival.

The idea is to take the kit home and review the basics with family and friends using the DVR and the Annie Doll explained Lewis who demonstrated how to use the doll. “Pinch the nose, lift chin slightly, blow into the mouth for one second to see if the chest rises. Do about 30 chest compressions, then 2 breaths, keeping hands away from the neck,” Lewis told the class. “Chest compressions are better than nothing at all,” said Lewis. “Practice the technique. The chest compressions can help someone stay alive before the paramedics arrive. Any CPR is better than none at all. Keep the blood and oxygen moving.”

Lewis also demonstrated the use of an AED machine. This portable life-saving machine analyzes the rhythm of the heart and is equipped in all emergency vehicles. “It is an automatic defibrillator,” added Lewis. There are three placed in the Lycoming Mall and it is always helpful to know what they look like and where they are in all public buildings. “They are easy to use,” she said. “Used for emergencies, they are safe and shock the heart into a regular heartbeat.”

Cardiovascular disease is closely connected with diabetes. Anyone’s heart can stop breathing at any one time. Knowing what to do and having the confidence to do it, could easily save someone’s life. About 26 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. “Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to kidney failure, vision loss, amputations and a host of other medical problems, but these are not inevitable. Individuals with diabetes do have control,” said Dawson, health educator and coordinator for the Life Center. Learning about personal risk factors and making simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward reducing the risk for developing diabetes and its complications. “We aim to help with the necessary tools before permanent or irreversible damage occurs,” she added.

Jennifer Deemer from Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania said that these free programs and screenings will continue to be available at the Life Center in Muncy Township throughout 2012. The two organizations have been collaborating on early intervention programs since 2007.

Other presenters were Linda Spurr, RN, who discussed ways to reduce cholesterol with lifestyle changes, and Kathryn Patetta, a Registered Dietitian and certified diabetes educator who gave tips to liven up meals with proteins, fruits and vegetables.