Automated External Defibrillators are becoming a common sight across many public locations now which is a fabulous move forwards, they massively increase the chance of survival for a person who is suffering from a cardiac arrest.
AED’s are an extremely useful piece of equipment. They are used by attaching sticky defibrillation pads to the chest of the person suffering from the cardiac arrest, the machine then analyses the person’s heart rhythm, if the heart is ‘quivering’ irregularly, the device emits an electric shock to stop the heart momentarily in the hope that it will ‘reboot’ into the correct rhythm afterwards.
Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is generally not enough to save a life, estimates show only around 10% of cardiac arrest cases survive with CPR being the only method applied. CPR itself is still incredibly useful though, as it allows oxygen to be spread around the body to the brain, delaying major organ failure.
Time plays a huge factor in a cardiac arrest situation. Every minute that passes without the use of an AED, survival decreases by 10%, so quick application is necessary. Therefore, shaving your chest hair can potentially save your life!
Shaving someone’s chest when they are having a cardiac arrest may seem like vanity, but in reality it could make the difference between a defib working, or not. Excessively hairy chests can be tricky to attach the defibrillator pads to due to the hair becoming matted in the adhesive and then the pad doesn’t actually make contact with the skin. Most AED kits are pre-equipped with a shaving kit, you don’t have to take your time worry about a close shave, or even cutting the person, just do enough to get the pads onto the skin and don’t be shy about it.
“Normal amounts of chest hair are not a problem, but if hair prevents good contact between the skin and the pads, it should be shaved off.” Quoted via the St Johns Ambulance First Aid manual.
But how hairy is too hairy?? Check out the header image for guidance.
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