Just a quick note, Women’s Running has taken down the article (see Tweet at the end of the post) but I feel this post is a great lesson in ensuring there are adequate sources and research to back up information and it has some good tips, so I’m leaving it as-is. I will say I’m extremely impressed with Women’s Running taking down the article. (Here’s a link to the cached post for anyone interested)
Over the weekend, this article, published by Women’s Running Magazine, started making the rounds.
Normally, when I read an article I don’t like or agree with, I’ll sigh, roll my eyes and carry on.
I’m not doing that this time.
Because this truly is a life and death issue (unlike a difference of opinions).
It pains me to link to the article, as the last thing I want is for more people to read the article and think it’s true, so my ask of you is to share this post as much as possible.
If you don’t want to click over, the article alleges that if you place a cold cloth over the eyes of someone who has experienced a sudden cardiac arrest, you can increase their chances of survival as it will trigger the mammalian diving reflex.
Even the Wikipedia article states that the mammalian diving reflex exists in infants under 6 months of age. I wanted to see if there were some medical sources indicating this would help in the onset of sudden cardiac arrest. I didn’t find any sources that would suggest this would help in sudden cardiac arrest.
(If you google mammalian diving reflex and cardiac arrest the only relevant article is that from Women’s Running Magazine).
The internet can be absolutely amazing for information, it can also be absolutely terrifying when incorrect information like this is disseminated.
I took my first aid course less than one month ago. I can almost guarantee that if The Red Cross or St John’s Ambulance felt that using a cold cloth was important in first aid training, it would have been taught to me recently.
It was not.
Let’s talk about what you should do on the chance you witness sudden cardiac arrest:
- If you’re trained in first aid – assist.
- Remember to always perform your site assessment before helping the other person.
- Check ABC’s of the person.
- If non-responsive, start CPR.
- Have another person call 911/EMS and specify pertinent details.
- If available, have someone get an AED and bring it to you.
- Perform CPR/use AED until EMS arrives. DO NOT STOP. <– seriously, you can have another person take over, but you are not permitted to stop CPR until instructed to do so by EMS.
This is where I urge you to take a CPR/First Aid course if you aren’t currently certified. I honestly wasn’t looking forward to the course, but with the information I’ve learned, I’m so glad I took the time to get certified (even if it was a requirement for my coaching certification).
If you aren’t familiar, AED stands for automatic external defibrillator and it will analyze the heart rhythm and determine if it is necessary to administer a shock. You cannot accidentally shock someone who doesn’t need it. (See more FAQs and information on SCA).
Applying a cold cloth to a face is unlikely to increase chances of survival, but CPR and AEDs do.
When an AED and CPR are immediately available, the chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest is substantially improved.1Combined with CPR, the use of an AED may increase the likelihood of survival by 75% or more.
In my city, AEDs are readily available in all sports arenas, there is one on every floor of my building, and most stadiums, or areas where people congregate. I would wager the onsite EMTs at all races likely have a number of AEDs with them as well.
As stated above, AEDs save lives.
What can you do?
Share my article, and not the false information presented by Women’s Running Magazine. Take a CPR/First Aid course. Familiarize yourself with how to use an AED (to test their usability, a class of third graders were given AEDs and needed to figure out how to use them without prior instructions and they were able to) just in case.
[Tweet “Sudden cardiac arrest – THIS is what you SHOULD do! #savelives #runchat “]
Update: I’m totally surprised and amazed by the super quick response from Women’s Running. A few hours after this post went live, they tweeted me to let me know they’ve taken the article down (so if you’ve tried to click over and don’t see a post, that’s why). I’ve decided to leave my tips up because they are important and they may help you.
— Women’s Running (@WomensRunning) September 14, 2015
Are you trained in first aid? Were you aware of the gross misinformation in the article?
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