Learning how to perform CPR is truly awesome. Your courage and skill will serve you – and an injured person – well one day. But, as you learned in class, you need to be able to protect yourself against infection and bacteria from a victim’s saliva, vomit (gross, but it happens), blood and other fluids. There’s even the possibility of being bitten during mouth-to-mouth. This is where a pocket CPR mask with a one-way valve is worth more than its weight in gold. If you haven’t access to paramedic level equipment, keep a CPR mask in your pocket or on a key ring. To do that, you need the right kind. Some aren’t so easy to carry. Others, like the kind used by the American Red Cross, most definitely are.
There are two types of valves for CPR airway equipment: one-way and two-way. Two-way valves are bulky, have other moving parts, and are complicated for everyone except paramedics, nurses and doctors. The upside is that you can attach oxygen. This kind of equipment is for hospitals and ambulances.
Then there is the simple one-way valve. It can be small and flexible with no moving parts. Its two-fold purpose is to protect the user (from blowback) while delivering lifesaving treatment. A CPR mask fitted with a one-way valve is perfect for anyone who knows CPR because it’s easy to figure out.
The equipment used by health care professionals varies from a few dollars to a several thousand. A CPR mask with one-way valve is inexpensive yet invaluable. For under $20, you can be ready to perform CPR anywhere – safely.
One-way valve CPR masks obviously allow air to flow in one direction only, thus preventing cross-contamination between you and the patient. Most work very well. They also feature a facial barrier of some kind. This varies from model to model – from a molded mask to a plastic sheet barrier. A filter is not enough, despite being replaceable.
Many one-way valve masks claim to be portable, but they really aren’t. OK, maybe a model fits in a backpack or glove compartment or first aid kit or trauma kit, but that doesn’t necessarily make it fully portable or practical. In an emergency, sometimes there simply isn’t time to go rummaging around for a CPR mask. Every second counts. The mask needs to be small, effective and simple to use. Portable should mean fitting on your key chain. The American Red Cross uses and recommends precisely this kind of miniature version.
Buying a pack of these CPR masks is very inexpensive. Just attach one to your keyring and it will be with you everywhere. You never know when it and its one-way valve could save more than one life.
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