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February 16, 2014 | by

Apps That Could Save Your Life

Technology is making it easy for strangers to save the day or even for you to keep the kiddos from catching the crud. You’re already carrying a medical device and it’s a smartphone full of life-saving apps.

First, turning everyday citizens into superheroes, the PulsePoint App notifies CPR Certified users if someone nearby, is having a cardiac emergency. The app also pinpoints the nearest defibrillator. Without one, the chances of survival for cardiac patients, decreases 10 percent each minute. The PulsePoint App is free

Next, Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America’s SnoreOMeter gives you information you can use to shame your significant other, but it can also help diagnose a serious underlying issue. Record your snore for up to 30 seconds, including any lapses in breathing, then rate the decibel level. The SnoreOMeter compares your snore to a jackhammer or a blow dryer. You can even put your friends to sleep when you share the results on Facebook. This app is also free.

And, the flu is no joke! Tracking hot zones is easy with the Sickweather App. It scours social media for posts with key words like ‘flu’ and ‘sick’, then lets you know when you’re approaching Sick Town. You can download Sickweather for free in the app store.

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December 24, 2013 | by

How CPR Can Save a Life

Image by Margaret RiegelMillions of people have been trained in CPR in recent decades, yet when people who aren’t in hospitals collapse from a sudden cardiac arrest, relatively few bystanders attempt resuscitation. Only one-fourth to one-third of those who might be helped by CPR receive it before paramedics arrive.

With so many people trained, why isn’t bystander CPR done more often?

For one thing, people forget what to do: the panic that may ensue is not conducive to accurate recall. Even those with medical training often can’t remember the steps just a few months after learning them. Rather than make a mistake, some bystanders simply do nothing beyond calling 911, even though emergency dispatchers often tell callers how to perform CPR.

Then there is the yuck factor: performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger. So pervasive is the feeling of reluctance that researchers decided to study whether rescue breathing is really necessary.

Two major studies, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in July 2010, clearly demonstrated that chest compressions alone were as good or even better than combining them with rescue breathing. In both studies, one conducted in Washington State and London and the other in Sweden, a slightly higher percentage of people who received only bystander chest compressions survived to be discharged from the hospital with good brain function.

When a person collapses suddenly because the heart’s electrical function goes awry, it turned out, there is often enough air in the lungs to sustain heart and brain function for a few minutes, as long as blood is pumped continuously to those vital organs. In addition, some people gasp while in cardiac arrest, which can bring more oxygen into the lungs. Indeed, the studies strongly suggested that interrupting chest compressions to administer rescue breaths actually diminishes the effectiveness of CPR in these patients.

Read the full article by Jane Brody at The New York Times.

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November 11, 2013 | by

Here’s how to save a life

Daniel and Charlette SandersAfter Scott Hansen’s heart gave out last year, strangers used its power to give him another chance at life. When Bill Pelow’s heart stopped in 2011, Daniel Velazquez became his lifeline because of it.

Charlette Sanders isn’t a widow today and her children have a father because she learned the lifesaving technique during an emergency conversation with 911 operator Amy Breitenbach.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, better known as CPR, the only known method of keeping someone alive until medically necessary treatment can be administered, saves tens of thousands of lives in heart-related crises annually in the United States alone.

But as wonderful as that is, it is also true that tens of thousands of other Americans die because CPR isn’t used. The American Heart Association reports that less than one-third of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims — there are about 400,000 each year — receive CPR from a bystander.

David Slattery, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue’s medical director, said studies show that Americans find intervening “very scary” because they’re not medically trained and that fear often paralyzes them.

Considering that cardiac arrest survival falls an estimated 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute without CPR and that it takes an average of four to six minutes across the country for rescue personnel to arrive, the low rate of bystander CPR plays a critical role on outcomes.

Less than 8 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.

Read the full post by Paul Harasim at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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