The holidays are a time of festive meals and celebrating with family and friends; it is also high season for heart disease deaths. Learning to save a life using the simple method of Hands-Only CPR could save the life of a loved one, particularly around the holiday season.
Studies published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation have shown a distinct increase in the number of cardiac deaths by an average of 5 percent, during the holiday season, with the largest spikes occurring at Christmas and New Year's.
While the studies did not identify a clear cause for this spike, some possible explanations include changes in eating and alcohol consumption, emotional stress and delays in seeking medical care for early warning cardiac symptoms.
"Cardiac arrest survival rates drop as much as 10 percent for every minute that goes by without help," said Robin Roberts, emergency cardiovascular care program senior account manager for the American Heart Association in Pennsylvania. "It is important that everyone know the two simple steps to save a life using Hands-Only CPR - call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest. It could mean the difference between life and death for a loved one this holiday season."
"The beat of the iconic song 'Stayin' Alive' by the Bee Gees is an easy and fun way for people to remember the correct rhythm for Hands-Only CPR chest compressions, which is 100 beats per minute, and make them feel more confident doing it. If you begin Hands-Only CPR immediately on a teen or adult who collapses from sudden cardiac arrest, you can double or triple their chances of survival."
The "Lend a Hand, Save a Life" CPR Challenge, a partnership between the American Heart Association, Pennsylvania Department of Health is challenging EMS providers and CPR trainers across the state to train one million people in Hands-Only CPR by the end of February 2014. The challenge was first launched in January 2013 and succeeded in reaching its first milestone of training 250,000 people by the end of EMS Week, in May of this year.
Hands-Onl CPR has been shown to be equally as effective as conventional mouth-to-mouth CPR, and people are more likely to feel comfortable performing it.