What Is a CPR Face Shield and Mouthpiece?

When you’re faced with an emergency where someone’s heart stops beating, knowing CPR can make the difference between life and death. CPR is a lifesaving technique that combines chest compressions with artificial ventilation to help maintain circulatory flow and oxygenation during cardiac arrest.

But, given the state of our global health in recent years, the American Heart Association now recommends you forgo mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and focus more on decompressions and defibrillation, especially in adults. But sometimes, giving someone the breath of life is unavoidable.

That’s where a CPR face shield and mouthpiece come in. These barriers are designed to make the rescue process safer by reducing the risk of transmitting infections between the rescuer and the person receiving CPR. They are simple yet effective tools that can help you perform CPR more confidently, knowing that you’re protected while trying to save a life.

What Are CPR Face Shields?

These are handy barriers designed to make the rescue process safer for both you and the person in need of help. A face shield is a thin piece of plastic film or a silicone-based mask that includes a one-way valve. This valve lets your rescue breaths go into the person’s mouth without any air or potentially infectious bodily fluids returning to you.

Face shields come in different sizes for adult, pediatric, and infant patients with a replaceable valve option. They can be:

    • Foldable face shields: These face shields are larger and can be tucked into first aid kits.

    • Keychain face shields: They are super compact and attach right to your keyring, so you’re always prepared.

The Benefits of Using a CPR Face Shield

First off, there’s the hygiene aspect. Given the recent Hepatitis A scare of 2019, where 281 Utah residents got infected, and the ongoing COVID-19 situation, you don’t want to take unnecessary risks. A face shield minimizes your contact with saliva or blood, cutting down on the chance of transmitting infections.

Beyond the safety perks, there’s the confidence factor. Performing CPR can be intimidating, but if you have a face shield with you, it’s one less thing to worry about. This can make a huge difference because the more confident you feel, the more likely you are to step up and perform CPR when someone’s life is on the line.

How To Use a CPR Face Shield

Let’s say you’re part of the 45.2% of Utah bystanders who witness a cardiac arrest happening. You’re willing to help but might be thinking, “Okay, I’ve got my face shield, now what?” Don’t worry; it’s simpler than it sounds. Just follow these simple steps:

    • Make sure the person is on a flat surface.

    • Take out the face shield, which usually comes in a compact package.

    • Unfold it and note that there’s typically a one-way valve, a clear indication of where to place your mouth.

    • Place the shield over the person’s face, making sure that the valve is directly over their mouth.

    • Begin chest compressions.

    • Tilt the person’s head back slightly, lift their chin, and blow into the valve.

    • Give two breaths and see if the chest is rising.

    • Continue doing compressions.

    • Repeat until EMS arrives or the person starts to show signs of recovery.

What Are CPR Mouthpieces?

These devices are designed to make resuscitation safer and more effective for both the person in need and the one providing aid. A CPR mouthpiece is a type of barrier used during rescue breathing to prevent direct mouth-to-mouth contact. This simple tool comes in various forms to cater to different preferences and scenarios.

    • Mouth-to-mouth barrier devices: They are compact and often have a one-way valve that you place over the victim’s mouth. This valve allows you to breathe air into the person without the risk of bodily fluid exchange.

    • Pocket masks: They usually have a mask that fits over the victim’s nose and mouth, with a valve and a tube you breathe into. Some even have straps to secure the mask to the victim’s face, enabling you to use both hands for chest compressions.

The Benefits Of Using a CPR Mouthpiece

It significantly reduces the risk of transmitting infections between you and the person you’re helping. While these devices don’t make your rescue breaths more efficient, they play a big role in protecting you from saliva-transmitted infections. You’re maintaining the utmost safety standards while ensuring your heroic efforts have the best chance of saving a life.

How To Use a CPR Mouthpiece

This little gadget is a bit different from the face shield; it’s like a tube you use to provide rescue breaths. So, here’s how you handle it:

    • Make sure the person is lying down flat.

    • Place the mouthpiece in the person’s mouth.

    • Hold the mouthpiece in place with your hand. Use a firm yet gentle grip.

    • Ensure it’s snug so that no air escapes as you give rescue breaths.

    • Pinch the person’s nose shut. You don’t want any air escaping there, either.

    • Give two breaths, and then go back to compressions.

    • Keep going until the ambulance arrives, or the person starts breathing independently.

How to Remove CPR Face Shields and Mouthpieces

Once you’ve given CPR, it’s time to remove the face shield or mouthpiece. The last thing you want is to cause any more discomfort to the person you’ve been helping, so make sure you have a firm but gentle touch. If the face shield is of the adhesive kind, you’ll want to slowly peel it away from the forehead down to the chin, taking extra care around the delicate skin.

For non-adhesive shields or mouthpieces, it’s all about a steady hand. With mouthpieces, pinch the bit sticking out — usually a tube or a bulb — and ease it out of the person’s mouth. Remember, the person might be coming around from an unconscious state, so your actions should be as smooth as possible to avoid startling them.

And after you’ve removed the shield or mouthpiece, place it to the side, out of the way. This isn’t just about tidiness; it’s about making sure that if emergency services need to jump in, they have a clear space to work in.

How to Dispose of Used CPR PPE

Once you’ve used a face shield or a CPR mouthpiece, it’s time to throw them away. These items are designed to prevent cross-contamination between individuals, which means they are intended for single use only. Start by carefully removing the face shield or mouthpiece, ensuring to avoid contact with any bodily fluids on the surface. It’s a good idea to wear gloves during this process to protect yourself.

Next, place the used item in a sealable plastic bag. This extra step helps seal away any contaminants. Once you close it, toss the bag into a trash bin designated for medical waste. Remember, these items are not recyclable, so they should never go into your recycling bin. Your local waste management services may have specific guidelines for medical waste, so it’s wise to check with them for proper disposal practices.

Other Useful PPE Items to Have in Your First Aid Kit

You probably noticed we mentioned other personal protection items like gloves and sealable bags, which can come in very handy. In addition to face shields and CPR mouthpieces, it’s smart to deck out the first aid box in your house or car with the following:

    • Nitrile gloves to protect your hands from blood and other bodily fluids.

    • A face shield to protect your eyes from splashes.

    • Sanitizing wipes or hand sanitizer for disinfecting your hands and face once you’re done.

    • Resalable bags to dispose of any used supplies in a hygienic manner.

Final Thoughts

So, what is a CPR face shield and mouthpiece? While very simple on the surface, these tools protect you while giving someone else a fighting chance at life. Think about it – with a bit of training under your belt you could be the difference between a close call and a saved life, right here in Salt Lake City.

So, if you’ve been on the fence about learning CPR and putting together a first aid kit, let this be your nudge to jump in. It’s not just about being prepared; it’s about being ready to step up when it counts. Remember, your actions have the power to influence the entire community, bringing safety and hope. Be prepared and carry your CPR barrier device with confidence, and be that lifesaver someone might desperately need.