WWYD?? First Aid/CPR


Okay... every 2 years I am required to take CPR/First Aid. I always get nervous about the dummy segment, because you have to put your mouth where everyone else has!

Well, last year, it was okay, because no one was eating and I volunteered to go first and they had us use plastic shields.

So this year, I was going to just say I was getting over a cold and could I fake the breathing part?

Two people this time were eating peanut foods- one had peanut butter crackers, the other had a candy bar.

Well!!! Ever hating to draw attention to myself, I didn't say anything! BUT I did volunteer to go first with the adult dummy and was relieved. Then she pulled out the baby... and since it could be passed around, she just started with the person on her left (next to me who had been eating the crackers!).

So... I went directly after the peanut cracker lady! I kept trying to rationalize it... she was drinking pop, so that probably washed any proteins down... there was a shield between her mouth and baby, so unlikely anything went on dummy... then it was wiped with alcohol... then I used a shield, so the chances of anything touching my lips was LOW... Epipen was in my pocket... And I *was* in an emergency facility, so if I had a reaction, help was right at hand! But it still freaked me out and I wish I had said something!

BTW- I did NOT have any kind of reaction.

I just feel like if I had said something, it would have come across as being a bit obssessive compulsive (which I AM, I have OCD in addition to PA!). I mean... a logical person would say... "What's the big deal, it'll be cleaned and you use a shield!"

I don't know if I will need training in the future, because I will be done with my master's and may be in a job that doesn't require it by then...

BUT how would you have handled this?

I think if I have to do it again, I will call the class instructor ahead and explain the situation and ask what I can do.

Tara P

On Jun 28, 2006

sorry you went through that!

In all of my First Aid/CPR classes I've taken (I always get recertified), I've called ahead and I get first take at the dummy. I'm ok using the dummy b/c they completely wash and sanitize it between classes.

They've never had a problem and they never blink twice.

I mean geez...wouldn't it be a hoot to have to give someone an epipen in a first aid/CPR class?

Don't feel uncomfortable calling ahead...it's a common thing. Sometimes they have special dummies put away for allergy folk (or those with communicable diseases)


------------------ 30-something survivor of severe peanut/tree nut allergy

On Jun 28, 2006

i'm glad you brought this up. it's certainly something i will discuss with my PA girls for the future. i'm sure they will want to take CPR classes one day and this will be an issue for them. imo, the dummies need to be thoroughly cleansed and anyone with a FA (or other special relevant need) should go first. i would not want my girls going after anyone else due to our issues with PA.

i have no FA's and i always hated the CPR classes for the very reason that multiple people were putting their mouths on the equipment. i can't remember what was used to clean the mouths of the CPR dummies between students when i was a lifeguard and swimming instructor years ago but i think we used little alcohol wipes. whatever they were, i still didn't feel good about the whole thing. gross. i'm a complete germ-a-phobe. i don't even like sharing drinks with my own family members. (i'll do it if they force me, but i don't like it. haha.)

On Jun 29, 2006

So now you know. This is how we all learn, by experience. And you know something about yourself too which is valuable.

Like someone above said. When you go to get recertified make them aware even before you show up for the class that you need to go first on the dummies. At the beginning of the class, go early, introduce yourself to the instructor and remind them you need to go first and why. Sometimes you have to draw attention to yourself in a limited sort of way.

You took a big chance using that dummy after the peanut lady. Yes there were safeguards in place but that was risky.

And BTW, since when is it EVER OK to be eating during a CPR class anyway? All this food stuff has to stop.

Maybe when you take the class next you can request no food period. I used to teach CPR for the Red Cross and there was a snack machine in the room I taught in. I knew nothing about PA back then but I found the crunching and munching annoying while I was trying to teach.


On Jun 29, 2006

I would have spoken to the instructor beforehand and explained that I could not participate unless the class remained peanut-free (and soy, wheat, and latex-free). It's a first-aid class, so I'd hope they could accomodate that. I mean, they don't want to have to truly apply the techniques before they're actually certified, do they? [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]


On Jun 29, 2006

I am glad you didn't have a problem during your exam!

I am a little shocked by the way you described the course. I did a recert a few weeks ago to renew my First Aid/CPR C and we never put our mouths directly on the Actars (or other people in simulations, even in an NLS recert). Everyone gets their own Actar if the group is small enough. We always use one-way valve masks that cover the mouth and nose. Not only would that protect you from contamination from something a victim/rescuer might have eaten, it also provides a barrier for any body fluids, vomit, possible diseases...

I carry a mask and a pair of latex-free gloves with me all the time. You may want to consider something like this in the event that you might actually need to rescue somebody. I know I would personally never touch somebody without protecting myself first - It's the old: one victim is bad, two victims are worse. It's part of the initial environment check for me.

By the way, it is silly that the instructor allowed food in the room at all, never mind that it is a food that people might possibly be allergic to. To me it wouldn't matter if I knew there will be any people with allergies attending or not - why tempt fate and create potential problems in this type of environment? I've had issues with this in the past and I have had to deal with an emergency that was completely avoidale in the first place!

If I were you I would complain about food in the room regardless of your allergy. How gross to have someone chew something up and put their mouth on a shared item, plastic shield or not! The instructor of all people should know that preventing a problem is the best way to solve it. This includes possible food allergies, choking hazards and things that could be avoided by not eating there in the first place.

I would ask for no eating in the room, probably call ahead to let the instructor know so they can be more supportive and also, I would bring my own mask. Not gloves though, as they are one time use only.

Good luck!

[This message has been edited by Shawnie (edited June 29, 2006).]

On Jun 30, 2006

I would have tried to contact the instructor before the class or been ok bringing it up in class. In light of the fact that the folks attending may have to deal with an anaphylactic event, allergic reactions should be a well received topic and your concerns could have provided a natural transition into a discussion about allergies and what to do in the case of an emergency related to allergies. Showing the other folks in the class what precautions needed to be taken would have furthered their education. It is really great to be an advocate. I can understand not wanting to bring attention to yourself, but perhaps you can think of it more as helping educate other people. Requesting an accommodation for a life threatening allergy ia a very reasonable request. It also probably would not have brought as much attention to you as you feared. If you are in a situation and can make a suggestion or two that would protect you, it makes it easier for the person on the other end to be accomodating. If they are unable to provide what you suggested, it at least opens the conversation for some quick brain storming for an alternative and educates everyone in the process.

It is great that you brought this situation up for discussion here and are working out a safer way to handle risky situations in the future. You clearly realized that you took a significant risk and seem to have attributed it to the fact that it is uncomfortable for you to bring attention to yourself.

It might be helpful for you to become involved in some activity that you would enjoy, but that requires you to bring attention to yourself. So when you have to do so because of allergy issues, you won't have to struggle with it so much.

Things like reading to a few children and ultimately lots of them at once - in a class room or library program, being a camp counselor, or teacher, doing individual sports of some sort that have an end of the program demo or exhibition or competition that lots of people watch. Even taking an art class or music class of some sort could help as it brings attention to the individual and gives you practice with it...Good luck and take care!

[This message has been edited by falcon (edited June 30, 2006).]

[This message has been edited by falcon (edited June 30, 2006).]

On Jul 3, 2006

Thanks all for the suggestions! I will definitely handle it differently next time!

Tara P