Monday, July 18, 2011

Pocket Mask 101

Feeling intimidated by the new standard in resuscitative care, the pocket mask? If you answered yes, rest easy knowing that you are not alone.

But, there's nothing to fear. A pocket mask employs the same principles as any other resuscitation barrier or mask, it just has the convenience of being re-usable. While the valve you breathe into must be replaced after each use, the mask itself can be cleaned and decontaminated per CDC guidelines. 

When used with the head-tilt, chin-lift airway opening method, the rescue mask allows two avenues of entry during resuscitation.

And with two avenues of entry, each rescue breath delivers life saving oxygen your patient desperately needs. When not connected to an external oxygen source, exhaled air from the rescuer can still provide sufficient oxygen to live, up to 16%. Most masks (including ours) also have a built-in oxygen inlet, allowing for administration of 50-60% oxygen from an oxygen cylinder.

The portability of the mask is an added benefit. In contrast to the bag valve mask, which requires two hands to operate (one to form a seal and the other to squeeze the bag), the pocket mask allows for both of the rescuer's hands to be on the patient's head. This hand placement makes for a superior seal of the mask's pliable bladder to the patient's face, meaning less oxygen escapes from around the mask border and more goes to where it's really needed.

A question I often field is, "How do I know if my mask is still ok to use?" Unfortunately, there's no one size fits all answer. Depending on how the masks are stored, anywhere from one to many years. Best to inspect your equipment on an annual basis. In short, if the mask is still pliable and the air bladder full, it's still a good mask. Look for cracks in the body of the mask. Will the air bladder make a good seal to your patient's face? Is the head strap still stretchy? Is the mask's valve still working? Is it missing altogether? A good question to ask is, "Would I feel confident in providing care with this equipment?" If the answer is anything but a resounding, "Yes!", better to throw it out than risk it failing while responding.

It really is, just that easy! So whether you are instructing students or participating in a CPR class, this is the mask you want. Keep one with your AED, in your car, home, camper - anywhere you might be since you never know when an emergency situation might occur. At least for me, when I carry an umbrella, it never rains. If I forget it, I'm sure to get soaked. It's always better to have the tools and not need them, than to need the tools and not have them.

Now that you see there's nothing to fear, click here to shop our store for 100% latex-free CPR pocket masks. Be Ready with the Right Tools!

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