Health Watch: Teaching teens the importance of CPR

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

When she spotted a collapsed man, Desiree Rossi took action when no one else would. A crowd of adults surrounded the man near Rossi’s bus stop in Pawtucket, R.I., but they were frozen. Rossi ordered an adult to call 9-1-1 and then started CPR. She was 17.

"I couldn't believe that no one stepped in -- that it took a 17-year-old kid to be the one to take action," says Rossi, who had been trained in CPR just six months earlier at her high school.

Rossi's story illustrates a huge obstacle to overcoming the dismal survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest: lack of bystander action. Less than 8 percent of victims who suffer cardiac arrest at home, at work or in other public places survive. And fewer than one-third of cardiac arrest victims gets CPR from a bystander.

"Getting people to act when someone suffers sudden cardiac arrest is critical to the victim's survival," says Dr. Michael Sayre, chairman of the American Heart Association's Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee. "Time is not on the victim's side. Four to six minutes is the window of opportunity for someone to act before it is too late."

The American Heart Association wants more people to take action and help cardiac arrest victims. The association is helping create the next generation of lifesavers at, where teens can learn the basic skills of CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator.

"Teens can learn how to save lives and play an important role by setting an example for their friends, families and neighbors about the need for CPR and AED training," Sayre says. "They can also encourage the adults in their lives to learn learn CPR."

Be the Beat features games, educational videos and interactive quizzes. Songs with 100 beats per minute (the correct rate for chest compressions when administering CPR) are also available on the website.

And the association recently simplified the steps of CPR with Hands-Only CPR. When a teen or an adult suddenly collapses, there are two easy steps: (1) Call 9-1-1; and (2) Push hard and fast on the center of the chest until professional help or an AED arrives.

Getting formal CPR training is also easier than ever. Visit to find a class in your neck of the woods, or order a self-directed CPR training kit at to learn at your own pace.

-- ARA

In the News: Pregnant moms can sign up for helpful texts

Text4baby is a free mobile information service that provides tips on what expecting mothers need to know during pregnancy and the baby's the first year.

To sign up, text BABY, or BEBE for Spanish, to 511411. It's free to sign up and the messages are free. Women who sign up will receive three, free SMS text messages each week, timed to their due date or the baby's date of birth.

In these text messages are health tips and information on a lot of topics, such as birth defects prevention, immunizations, nutrition, mental health, oral health, and safe sleep. Text4baby messages also connect women to prenatal and infant care services and other resources.

-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Did You Know?

A Brigham Young University study found that treating clinical depression on the telephone is nearly as effective as face-to-face consultations.

Health Tip: Advantages of cross-training

Cross-training, in which you combined two or more types of physical activity, adds variety to an exercise program.

There are two basic approaches to cross-training:

- Multiple activities: With this approach to cross-training, you combine two or more types of activity with the same goal — such as aerobic activity — in the same workout. For example, you might ride a stationary bike before your morning jog.

- Alternating days: As another option, you may choose to alternate two or more types of activity during the week. For example, you might swim on Monday and Wednesday and jog on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Cross-training can reduce injury risk, keep you interested, help you burn extra calories and double as a backup plan if your other fitness plan goes off-track.

-- Mayo Clinic

Number to Know: 40 percent

About 4 in 10 never–married U.S. teenagers aged 15–19 have had sexual intercourse at least once in their lifetime, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children’s Health: Trampoline safety tips

To avoid injuries on a backyard trampoline:

- Allow only one person at a time on the trampoline.

- Set rules and have an adult present at all times to enforce them.

- Don’t attempt backflips or somersaults.

- Place the trampoline in an open area away from trees, fences, concrete, etc.

- Always use a safety net around the trampoline.

-- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Senior Health: Predicting surgery complications

A simple, 10-minute “frailty” test administered to older patients before they undergo surgery can predict their risk for complications, how long they will stay in the hospital and they are likely to end up in a nursing home afterward, according to new research.

Results from the study showed that patients who were frail were 2.5 times as likely as those who were not to suffer a postoperative complication, 1.5 times as likely to spend more time in the hospital and 20 times as likely to be discharged to a nursing home or assisted living facility after previously living at home.

Previous research has also linked frailty to poor outcomes even in patients not undergoing surgery and has associated frailty with mortality, morbidity, falls and increased hospitalization.

-- Johns Hopkins

GateHouse News Service