Student Health hosts final CPR trainings

The campaign empowers students to help victims of sudden cardiac emergencies.

Chief Student Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman said hands-only CPR, which does not involve rescue breaths, is an effective way to deliver oxygen to unconscious individuals and students can learn it quickly. (Anik Panja / Daily Trojan)

Student Health will host the last of three hands-only CPR training sessions at the Trojan Farmers Market in McCarthy Quad Wednesday. 

USC introduced the Los Angeles County Heart Heroes 2023 Campaign on campus this year in partnership with the L.A. County Department of Public Health to raise awareness about sudden cardiac events and how people can respond to them, said Chief Student Health Officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman in a briefing with the Daily Trojan Tuesday.

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While traditional CPR is important to learn, it is a more complicated process requiring additional training for a person to deliver rescue breaths coordinated with chest compressions in a proficient manner. Van Orman said hands-only CPR, a method which takes a few minutes and only involves chest compressions, is still effective in delivering oxygen to an unconscious individual.

“The idea behind the hands-only [CPR] is that chest compressions can be learned by anybody in a very short period of time,” Van Orman said. “It’s [lowering] the barrier to delivering CPR by really saying to anyone [that] you can do chest compressions if you witness a sudden cardiac event and you will make a difference.”

Hands-only CPR increases the chances of survival of a victim, especially if it’s followed up by professional emergency medical services. Rescuing a victim becomes more likely the sooner a trained individual can initiate chest compressions. 

“What we’re trying to do is make sure people are aware that you can actually do something,” Van Orman said. “Even if you aren’t fully CPR trained, you’re gonna do good … this is something anybody really can learn to do.”

The Heart Heroes 2023 Campaign has the ultimate goal of training 500,000 L.A. County residents in hands-only CPR by the end of the year. Trainers from the L.A. County Department of Public Health will also visit tailgate areas on the day of the Trojans v. Bruins football game Nov. 18. 

“We’ve been very excited about the level of engagement,” Van Orman said. “People seem really interested in it, so we’re really excited about the opportunity to spread the information about [CPR training] on campus.”

As Thanksgiving and the end of the semester approaches, Van Orman said students should also remember to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, colds and flu viruses. After midterms season, Student Health noted a slight rise in coronavirus cases. 

“We can anticipate [influenza cases] especially as the weather changes, people are traveling,” Van Orman said. “Wash your hands and [do] all those things we know that help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses that become much more common this time of year.”

Van Orman also said students typically begin to cut out physical activity from their routines around this point in the semester because of fatigue and concerns that exercising will increase it. However, Van Orman said exercising releases stress and increases energy. 

“Make sure you’re really continuing to try to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule, even if it’s just 30 minutes,” Van Orman said. “Even if it’s just a walk [or] a quick trip to the gym … make sure you’re continuing to exercise.”

With the clocks having turned back an hour on Sunday for daylight saving time, Van Orman said the time change can negatively impact health. The shorter days and reduced exposure to sunlight can contribute to fatigue at this time of year. Van Orman recommended students get sunlight everyday and take afternoon walks to counter fatigue.

“The natural sun helps reset our circadian rhythm,” Van Orman said. “It also just helps us sleep better and elevates our mood, so getting outside in the sun, particularly between like 10 and two when the sun is bright, is really important.”


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