As most Americans continue to spend more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds of cardiac arrests in a home setting are likely to increase. Each year, June 1–7 is designated as National CPR and AED Awareness Week, and this year, the significance is especially striking.
More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year, with about 70% happening in homes. Fortunately, hands-only CPR can be performed by family or household members. During a pandemic, household members may be the lowest risk providers of CPR at home because they have likely already been exposed if the cardiac arrest victim has COVID-19. Rather than waiting for first responders to arrive, performing immediate CPR in the case of cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s odds of survival. If you are willing and able to do CPR, you should do CPR, even during this pandemic.
The Case Western Reserve University Wellness Program encourages faculty and staff to take advantage of shelter-in-place time and brush up on their hands-only CPR skills; they might save someone you love, since only about 46% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receive the immediate help they need before professional help arrives. Hands-only CPR involves two simple steps and anyone can learn it from a 90-second video available online.
Remember, every second counts in cardiac arrest, so the University Wellness Program encourages you to take 90 seconds this CPR and AED Week to learn how to save a life.