When medical emergencies occur at home, it takes preparation and a cool head to navigate the challenging events at hand.

While cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills are extremely valuable while awaiting the assistance of paramedics or an ambulance, the emotions of potentially losing a loved one can cause you to forget emergency training procedures vital for your loved one’s well-being.

In an attempt to help you put your best foot forward during a crisis, here are some tips to help you take control of a home medical emergency.

Update Your CPR Certification

The first time I was faced with a medical emergency at home, I was the only person in the house able to keep a cool head. While my CPR certification was merely two-months old, I had trouble trying to carrying out the CPR procedure while attempting to move and adjust a person over 200 pounds.

During CPR training, the test dummy was only 25 pounds, and it was fairly easy to lift and adjust positions. However, in the midst of a medical emergency where you have a 911 phone call in one hand and a 200-pound person in the other, while you’re trying to accurately relay your address to the operator and do CPR, it can become extremely difficult to concentrate.

By updating your CPR certification with the American Red Cross, you can gain problem-solving solutions for medical emergencies as well as brush up on your cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques.

The Red Cross offers CPR certification in many states throughout America for $55.  Personally, I believe $55 is a small price to pay to gain the training you need to potentially save the life of a loved one.

Get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Certification

While ordinary Americans may not be familiar with the conditions treated by an automated external defibrillator (Pulseless Ventricular Tachycardia and Ventricular Fibrillation), the device is moreover used to check and restore a normal heart rhythm.

Abnormal heart rhythms, arrhythmias, can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body. Unfortunately, arrhythmias can also cause a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) that can be fatal if not treated immediately.

AEDs automatically diagnose heart rhythms to determine if a shock is needed to restore a regular heart rhythm.

Whereas the automatic mode can administer a shock without the user’s command, the semi-automatic mode tells the user when a shock is needed.  All American made AEDs come equipped with an electronic voice that prompts users through each step of the process.

While the cost of most AEDs is in the $1000 range, the cost to become certified in AED use is only $50. In the case of an emergency, many public places have at least one AED unit available for use. However, if anyone in your family or household has a heart condition, you may want to consider purchasing an AED unit to assist with any potential issues that may arise in the future.

Obtain a First Aid Kit and Training

Medical emergencies may present themselves in various forms at any time. Any delivery of initial care for an illness or injury is considered first aid.

Due to the wide range of medical crises that can occur, first aid training is essential to keep the injured or ill person stabilized while you await an EMS team.

First aid kits can be purchased for $20 or less, and first aid courses are offered for free through many local community organizations.

Taking a free first aid course is the least you can do to gain valuable knowledge to assist during a medical crisis.

In the event of a medical emergency, you may become the only person who can assist a loved one or houseguest before the EMS team arrives. By employing some of the tips listed above, you can be assured that you have taken a proactive approach to assist your loved ones or houseguests during a medical emergency.

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