Saturday, June 27, 2009

One little thing that makes it all worthwhile

Tonight I had the most wonderful experience. My mom was up visiting and my husband and I decided to go out by ourselves. This alone was a wonderful thing, but the best part of our evening was when we stopped at the supermarket on our way home. We were in the cereal aisle when a woman with a older infant came up the aisle as well. We struck up one of those 'supermarket' conversations about the price of Cheerios when she said that I looked familiar. At first she thought I worked for the local hospital, which I don't, but I mentioned that I taught CPR. Turns out she was in one of my classes almost a year ago. Then she tells me "You saved my daughter's life". Her daughter began to choke on food a few months ago and she successfully performed infant back slaps and chest thrusts to remove the object. Her daughter is almost 13 months old and was happily sitting in the shopping cart smiling at us. We hugged in the aisle. It probably looked odd to anyone else shopping in the evening, but seeing that little girl smile is what makes what I do and teach all worthwhile.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ticks & Lyme Disease

With summer now here I thought I'd share some info on Lyme Disease & ticks. Sometimes you don't need to be in the woods to pick up a tick, they can be almost anywhere other animals travel through. Lyme Disease is primarily carried by Deer Ticks, but those ticks can attach themselves to other host animals. I've had the kids pick up ticks just a few feet from our house and not in the woods out back. Ticks like warm dark places, so they will attach along your ankle, under your sock; behind the ears or along the hairline; and around the edges of your clothing. Since most of us tend to use sunscreen and insect repellent during the day it is a good idea to check for ticks each night when you shower off. Especially check your kids and pets. Household pets can easily carry ticks into the house. If you have a tick the best way to remove it is to use a pair of tweezers or a tick removing device (a fancy pair of tweezers). Grasp the tick as close to the head as you can and gently pull it out. There are a lot of 'old wives tales' methods of removal that may or may not work, but this is the easiest and less likely to scare a child. Then just flush the tick down the toilet or flick it into the woods. If you check daily they are easy to remove. If they are in for a few days they can be harder to remove and you may need to go to your doctors office to have it removed. Signs of tick bite infection are similar to any other open wound infection. Redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a bullseye pattern. The best way to treat a tick bite is to prevent it. If you're going to be near a wooded area wear light long sleeved and long panted clothing and check for ticks frequently. Use insect repellent and reapply as needed. Checking yourself and your kids frequently is the easiest way to prevent Lyme Disease.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Does it take the strength of 10 men?.....

I did a CPR review class recently for the local chapter of Mothers of Multiples. What a fun group! I visited them during one of their meetings to give them the chance to practice their CPR skills and to answer any questions they might have. It wasn't really a class and they had some great questions - some of which I had to really think about! I think it's good to get stumped by questions when I teach, it keeps me on my toes and reminds me why I should be reading all those updates and studies.

One of the moms in the group asked me a really interesting question though. She had been told that she was "too small" to do CPR on an adult male. She was rather petite and slender, but I had never heard of anyone being too small to do effective CPR. My immediate reply to her, as a mother of TRIPLETS she probably has more upper body strength than I do! I don't think I could pick up more than 2 kids at a time!

But looking at the physics & body chemistry involved in CPR I can't really see how anyone could be too small. When we perform chest compressions on an adult we use 2 hands and we lean over their body with our arms underneath our shoulders. We use the muscles of our back, abdominals, shoulders, and to a lesser extent arms, to perform chest compressions. We use the weight of our upper body to provide most of the force in the downward cycle of the compression. We don't use just our arms to perform the compressions - otherwise we'd get way too tired way too quickly! It is not meant to be a cardiovascular exercise - we compress evenly at 100 pushes per minute (try singing "Old MacDonald had a Farm") letting the weight of our upper body do most of the work. Secondly when we get excited or stressed our body releases a natural chemical called adrenaline. We've all heard the term of the adrenaline rush and possibly heard the stories of the frantic mom who has picked up a car (or other heavy object) to save their child. Well for most of us, the first time you see someone collapse and you need to start CPR you are going to have a serious adrenaline rush! I know I did the first time my son choked (yes we've done this twice!). Thinking back I still can't believe how quickly I had him up & out of that seat and on my arm doing infant back slaps.

Pretty much anyone can do chest compressions on anyone of any size. You do not need the strength of 10 men to perform adequate compressions. So the next time someone tells you that you are too small or too light or too weak to help someone who needs CPR just smile and don't listen to them. Because you can do it and you can make a difference for someone who needs your help.

June 1-7, 2009 is National CPR & AED week. Have you taken a CPR course recently?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The value of CPR & First Aid

Cost of CPR Barrier Sheet: $9.50
Cost of Pocket Mask: $12.25
Cost of CPR course: $40.00
Cost of First Aid Kit: $10.00
Cost of First Aid Course: $40
Knowledge that you can make a difference for someone in an emergency: Priceless

In our current economy a lot of us are watching our budgets and trying to get the best value for our money. Taking courses is no exception to that. Prices for CPR and First Aid courses vary depending upon location, who is offering the course, etc. Sometimes I hear that courses are too expensive or I'm asked if discounts are available. So what exactly does the course charge cover and what is the value of knowing CPR and First Aid?

First let's take a look at what goes into the cost of a course.

I can only speak from my experiences as an American Heart Association Instructor, but the AHA does not set the prices for the courses, it is up to individual instructors to set their own prices. For my business I set up a formula. It is based on a minimum class size of 4 students so some expenses are divided by 4 to spread out the cost. So per person my costs are based on:
• Cost of book for the course
• Replacement lungs for 1 Adult & 1 Infant mannequin (divided by 4)
• Barrier sheet (I think it's important to know how to use one)
• One-way valve for face mask (if we cover this in the course)
• Cost to have Course Completion cards issued by my Training Center
• Cost to rent the space to hold the course (divided by 4)
• My time to teach the course, prepare before course and clean up after course

How much time do I put in for each course? I have to arrange the location, order the supplies, pack the materials, set up for the course, teach the course, clean up after the course, sanitize all the equipment after the course, submit the roster, request the cards and then mail out all the cards. Not factored in is all the other things that go into running a business, advertising, marketing, insurance, returning phone calls, email, etc. For private groups my charges vary as there are usually fewer expenses and I can pass that savings on to the group.

What is the value of knowing CPR or First Aid?

First and foremost you have the peace of mind to know that you know what to do in the first few minutes of an emergency. For parents and grandparents this is most likely foremost in your mind.

For care providers you may be required to have certification for your state license. For babysitters, advertising that you know CPR or First Aid makes you more attractive to parents looking to hire you. Some parents may pay a babysitter more if they are certified in CPR or First Aid.

Some employers may offer incentives for trained employees or may require certification as part of their job description. Some professions require certification for state licensing or for insurance coverage.

I could cite statistics and quote a lot of reasons why everyone should know CPR or First Aid, but today's post is on the value and what you're getting for the cost of the course. You are getting an instructor who has been trained and mentored to teach the skills and to answer your questions. You are getting the certification you may need. You are getting supervised practice time to learn the physical skills involved. If you're a believer in Murphy's Law you know that the more you are prepared the less likely you may need to use what you've learned. But most importantly you are learning a very important life saving skill. For $40 (or whatever the charge is where you are) you are learning how to possibly save another person's life.