New CPR Guidelines: Feel Me Up, Just Don't Kiss Me!

Jeanne Sager

cpr Germophobes, it's time to send a big ol' thank-you letter to the American Heart Association (AHA). They just saved your bacon with their new CPR guidelines.

The AHA has given mouth-to-mouth the heave-ho, telling us we can make do with chest compressions until the paramedics arrive. The day of standing, rooted to the spot in the grocery store while the old guy lies passed out on the ground are over. You don't have to put your mouth on his anymore.

Oh, that was your dark secret? Don't kid yourself. Everyone knows it's icky leaning in and getting close to someone you don't know.

But that's a minor inconvenience when you're in the bar, and some creep is getting a little too up close and personal. It becomes a major catastrophe when the old gent in Apartment B is lying on the floor outside your building gasping for air.

No one wants to admit they didn't help someone in need, especially when it comes down to something as selfish as being afraid of a little skin to skin contact.

But you're not alone in being afraid of being lip to lip with a stranger. In a full two-thirds of cases, it's estimated people simply stand by and watch someone suffer until the paramedics arrive. The AHA noted one of the driving forces behind its decision to change up the guidelines was because people are wary of the personal contact -- be it because of fear of infectious diseases or just your run of the mill squeamishness.

So what else belongs on that thank-you note to the AHA?

1. Thanks for cutting out (almost) all the touching. The old "A-B-C" method instructed us to open the airway (a), check that they're breathing (b), and check the circulation (c) or pulse. That meant putting your face close to their mouth to listen for the breathing, putting your hands in their hair to adjust the head, and of course mouth-to-mouth. That's a lot of touchy feely.

2. Thanks for making it simpler. As if being the only one around while someone is having a heart attack isn't scary enough. Then they wanted us to go through multiple steps to save a life. Chest compressions alone are now being touted as a way to get the blood pumping again. We all can handle one step -- it gives us time to think about where to find our hand sanitizer after we're done.

Do you feel less guilty about keeping your lips to yourself?


Image via johntrainor/Flickr

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