The Basic Life Support (BLS) course offers training on how basic first aid is conducted. Learning the basics of first aid is important because it helps in the administration of medical assistance, especially in emergency situations. Through basic first aid, the physical conditions of an individual can easily be determined, leading to the correct course of treatment.
This course features comprehensive training on how to respond to an assortment of common medical emergencies either as a single person or as a team rescuer. These medical techniques are commonly used by different authorities, who take charge of emergency responses such as Nurses, physicians, paramedics and emergency medical technicians, lifeguards, teachers, child care providers, and other persons who have shown interest in life support training.
This course starts with the most basic life support contents. BLS provides understanding on authorized protections in every stage which the rescuers need in offering medical support to unknown parties. According to the Good Samaritan Law, medical techniques administered by health experts like the CPR or AED to save lives are in most cases protected from negative legal proceedings in the event that no compensation is expected. This is an example of the value gained from studying the BLS training course. Profound instructions are provided in this course for medical workers who mostly use the field of BLS in real world.
Our blended BLS course training is easy and convenient since it is budget friendly and convenient to your schedule. Our online BLS certification is not only accredited but strictly observes by both AHA and OSHA guidelines.
After successfully completing this course, you will be expected to
- Demonstrate the necessary and basic skills in first aid in controlling immobilized injuries and also bleeding
- Demonstrate assessment and management skills in the obstruction of foreign body airway in adults, children and infants
- Demonstrate a proper understanding of the equipment used in the resuscitation attempts such as ventilation, bag-valve mask and pocket mask among others
- Demonstrate the necessary and essential skills in handling an injured person
THE HEART ITSELF
The human heart is an organ which is responsible for life and health. It is significant in the human body since it is responsible for blood flow which keeps the other body organs both alive and functioning. The pericardium which is a membrane with double layers surrounds the heart. Attached to the heart muscle is the inner layer of the pericardium. The two membrane layers of the heart are separated by a fluid coating that allows the heart to move as it beats. The upper chamber of the heart is composed of the left and right atria and they are separated from the right and left ventricles which make the lower chambers by the septum. In the heart, the largest and strongest chamber is the left ventricle whose walls are about a half-inch thick, but their force is sufficient to push blood through the aortic valve.
The flow of blood in the heart is regulated by four valves; the tricuspid valve controls the flow of blood between right ventricle and atrium. Blood flow from the right ventricle into the pulmonary arteries is controlled by the pulmonary valve; this valve also transports blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen. The largest artery of the heart is the aorta; this artery paves way for rich oxygenated blood to move from the left atrium.
The contraction of the heart is as a result of its electrical impulses. The heart’s sinoatrial node is the source of the electrical signals. The sinoatrial node is situated on the top of the right atrium. The circulation system of the heart makes up its cardiovascular system. The heart pumps and pushes blood and other nutrients to different tissues, organs, and body cells.
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the process aimed at supporting and maintaining the breathing and circulation process for an infant, child or adult who has experienced respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest. In the event of respiratory or cardiac arrest, CPR can be very helpful in saving life.
In case the heart has stopped, the absence of oxygenated blood can damage the brain within a very short time span. In a period of 8 to 10 minutes, a person may die, thus, it is important to do something to save a life even if you are not trained in CPR.
Before beginning the process of CPR some of the factors to consider include:
- The safety of the environment for the sake of the person. Make sure the scene is safe for you and the person.
- In case the person seems unconscious shake or tap the person on the shoulder and ask with a loud voice “are you ok? are you ok?” In adults and children, check the carotid pulse located on the groove of the neck, using your 2 middle fingers. In infants, less than one year old, check their brachial pulse located in the inner part of the upper arm. DO NOT take any more than 10 seconds to check their pulses, but take at least 5 seconds. While checking for pulses, observe person for any breathing or movement.
- NOTE: When starting CPR, it is important to note if the person is an infant, child or adult. An infant is anyone less that 1 year of age; a child is anyone, one year and up to puberty.
In CPR, please remember to spell C-A-B; this acronym stands for Compressions, Airway, and Breathing. This helps to remember the steps in CPR.
The goal is to provide good quality CPR
- Lay the person on a firm surface, on his or her back. If found on the floor, great, leave the person there.
- Kneel next to the person’s shoulders and neck
- Place the heel of one hand over the center of the person’s chest, between the nipples. Place your other hand on top of the first hand. Keep your elbows straight and position your shoulders directly above your hands.
- Use your upper body weight in addition to your arms as you push straight down on the chest at least 2 inches (approximately 5 centimeters) but not greater than 2.4 inches or in a child, 1/3 the depth of the chest, at about 2 inches down. Push hard at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions a minute. Allow the chest to fully recoil between each compressions.
- If you haven’t been trained in CPR, continue chest compressions until there are signs of movement or until emergency medical personnel take over. If you have been trained in CPR, go on to opening the airway and rescue breathing.
As soon as you get access to AED, began to follow the instruction of the device.
This process helps in opening up the airway
In one rescuer, after performing 30 chest compressions or with 2 rescuers, 15 compressions, open up the person’s airway, using the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver. Place your palm on the forehead of the person then tilt head back gently. Using the other hand, lift the chin forward gently to open up the airway.
Rescue breathing can be mouth-to-mouth breathing or mouth-to-nose breathing in case the mouth is seriously injured or can’t be opened.
- With the airway open, pinch the nostrils shut for mouth-to-mouth breathing and give 2 breaths so the chest can rise.
- Give the first rescue breath for around one second then watch to see if the chest rises. If it rises, give the second breath. If it doesn’t rise, repeat the head-tilt, chin-lift maneuver and then give the second breath. Thirty chest compressions followed by two rescue breaths is considered one cycle. Be careful not to provide too many breaths or to breathe with too much force.
- If spinal injury is suspected, use the jaw thrust method by placing hands on the side of the jaw and pull the jaw forwards and upwards.
- Resume chest compressions to restore circulation.
- As soon as the AED is available, apply it and follow the prompts. If indicated by the AED, administer one shock, and then resume CPR for two more minutes before administering the second shock
- Continue CPR until there are signs that the person is moving or emergency medical personnel takes over.
- While gently shouting “baby, baby”, tap the infant’s shoulders. In case there is not feedback or signs of normal breathing, position the infant on the back and start CPR.
- If the rescuer is alone, deliver 30 compressions using the two middle fingers in the center of the chest just below the nipples. Press down around one-third the depth of the chest which is about 1.5 inches.
- Open the airway using a head tilt and by lifting the chin. Do not tilt the head too far back.
- If spinal injury is suspected, use the jaw thrust method by placing hands on the side of the jaw and pull the jaw forwards and upwards.
- Give 2 small and gentle breaths by covering the baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth or using an infant disposable bag valve mask and give 2 gentle breaths. For each breath, take at least one second. You should see the baby’s chest rise with each breath
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
According to NIH, an automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life (January 26, 2012, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/automated-external-defibrillator).
How does an AED work?
An AED is easy to operate. It uses voice prompts to instruct the rescuer. Once the machine is turned on, the rescuer will be prompted to apply two electrodes provided with the AED to the victim’s chest. Once applied, the AED will begin to monitor the victim’s heart rhythm. If a “shockable” rhythm is detected, the machine will charge itself and instruct the rescuer to stand clear of the victim and to press the shock button.
The time to the first defibrillation shock is the most critical factor in determining survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). With every minute that goes by, survival rates decrease by about 10%. That leaves a window of ten minutes in which to potentially save your life or the life of someone you know, after which survival rates average less than 2% (NIH, January 26, 2012, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/automated-external-defibrillator).
In the event of a cardiac arrest, an AED can be very important in saving the life. After checking the scene and ensuring that the person needs help, you should ask an onlooker to seek assistance by calling 911. Turn on the AED then follow the prompts available in visual and/or audio.
Secondly, open the shirt of the person and wipe it dry. In case the person has any patches of medication, it is important that you use gloves to take out the patches then wipe the chest until it is dry.
Remove the pads from the sealed pack and remove the backing paper then attach the pads to the chest
The first pad should be placed on the upper right side of the chest, slightly below the collarbone. Ensure that you have placed the second pad on the left side of the chest, slightly under the armpit. Ensure that you place the pad lengthways, with the long side in line with the length of their body
Plug in the connector
Ensure the person is not touched by anyone, you included, then allow the AED to analyze the rhythm of the person’s heart by pushing the button written “analyze”
In case the AED makes a recommendation that you deliver a shock to the person, ensure that no one is touching the person and tell every person to “stand clear.” After everyone has heeded this, press the button written “shock”
After you have delivered the shock, start the CPR process. In case no shock has been advised, you can commence the CPR process. Complete approximately five CPR cycles in about two minutes.
Continue with the AED prompts. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are safe to use. There are no reports of AEDs harming bystanders or users. Also, there are no reports of AEDs delivering inappropriate shocks.
If someone is having sudden cardiac arrest, using an AED and giving CPR can improve the person’s chance of survival.
In case the person shows obvious life signs, stop CPR and observe the breathing process to confirm if there are changes in the condition.
Picture taken from NIH website in order to educate the public.
(NIH, January 26, 2012, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/automated-external-defibrillator).
When a foreign object lodges in a person’s throat, choking occurs. In adults, a piece of food can be the culprit and more often causes choking.
Signs of a Mild Airway Obstruction
If the airway obstruction is mild, typically the victim has good air exchange and can cough forcefully. The victim may wheeze between coughs.
As long as good air exchange continues, encourage the victim to continue coughing. Do not interfere with the victim’s own attempts to relieve the obstruction. Stay with the victim and monitor the condition. If mild airway obstruction continues or progresses to signs of severe airway obstruction, activate the emergency response system.
Signs of Severe Airway Obstruction
- Clutching the throat with the thumb and fingers, making the universal choking sign, which is holding their neck anteriorly with both hands.
- Unable to speak
- Poor or no air exchange
- Weak, ineffective cough or no cough at all
- High-pitched noise while inhaling or no noise at all
- Increased respiratory difficulty
Possible cyanosis (turning blue)
Steps to assist an adult when chocking:
- The first step is to assess if the person can talk or not, if the person cannot talk, go ahead to the next step.
- Repeatedly perform abdominal thrust till there is the expulsion of the foreign body. With each abdominal thrust, make it a separate, distinct movement to relieve the obstruction. If the person is obese or it is a woman in the late pregnant stage, perform a chest thrust.
- Stand or kneel behind the victim and place your arms around the victim’s waist; with one hand, locate the navel.
- Then, make a fist with the other hand and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim’s abdomen, just above the navel and below the breastbone.
- Grasp your fist with the other hand and press your fist into the victim’s abdomen with a quick, forceful upward thrust.
- Repeat thrusts until the object is expelled from the airway or the victim becomes unresponsive.
Choking victims may worsen and become unresponsive. In case the person becomes unresponsive, start CPR:
- Shout for help. If someone else is available, send that person to activate the emergency response system.
- Gently lower the victim to the ground if you see that he is becoming unresponsive.
- Begin CPR, starting with chest compressions. Do not check for a pulse.
- Each time you open the airway to give breaths, look for the object.
If you see an object that can be easily removed, remove it.
If you do not see an object, continue CPR. Do not perform a blind finger sweep, because it may push the foreign body back into the airway, causing further obstruction or injury.
- After about 5 cycles or 2 minutes of CPR, activate the emergency response system if someone has not already done so.
Signs of Mild Airway Obstruction
- Good air exchange
- Can cough forcefully
- May wheeze between coughs
Do not interfere with the infant’s own attempts to relieve the obstruction, but stay with the infant and monitor the condition.
Some of the common signs of Severe Airway Obstruction
- Poor or no air exchange
- Skin color turns to blue, possible cyanosis
- Unresponsiveness in case the blockage is not yet cleared
- Inability to make sound or cry
- Weak, unsuccessful coughing or no cough at all
If the infant cannot make any sounds or breathe, severe airway obstruction is present and you must try to relieve the obstruction.
Choking and Responsive infant:
The following steps should not be performed when the child is crying so much or coughing hard since these can assist in pushing the object from the airway. If the infant is just quiet, follow the following steps:
- sit or kneel with the infant in your lap. Hold the infant facedown and resting on your forearm, with the head slightly lower than the chest.
Note: If it is easy to do, remove clothing from the infant’s chest.
- Between the shoulder blades, give up to 5 fast and forceful blows using the palm of your free hand.
In case the object doesn’t come out:
- Turn the infant face-up using the support of your lap while supporting its head.
- Place 2 fingers on the breastbone just under the nipples.
- Give around 5 fast thrusts down, squeezing the chest one third to one half the chest’s depth
- Continue giving five back blows followed by 5 chest thrusts till the object is dislodged or the infant loses consciousness.
Choking Relief in an Unresponsive Infant
- Shout for help. If someone responds, send that person to activate the emergency response system. Place the infant on a firm, flat surface.
- Begin CPR (starting with chest compressions) with 1 extra step: each time you open the airway, look for the object in the back of the throat. If you see an object and can easily remove it, remove it.
Note: Do not perform a blind finger sweep, because it may push the foreign body back into the airway, causing further obstruction or injury.
- After about 2 minutes of CPR, activate the emergency response system (if no one has done so).
Retrieved from AHA (https://www.onlineaha.org/system/packages/1062/home.html)