Can you learn to save lives online?
Earlier this year I was passing through Brighton train station, when a man collapsed in front of me, apparently having a heart attack. As people rushed to help and called the emergency services, I didn’t know what to do.
That’s the trouble with life saving advice - it’s the sort of information that you don’t miss until it’s too late. So where’s the best place to go for first aid tips, and can social media be used to save lives?
Last year the British Heart Foundation brought celebrity and social media together, and their Vinnie Jones video promoting hands-only CPR video has had over 2.5 million views If only I’d seen that sooner rather than later. There’s even a Facebook fan page for learning CPR.
St John Ambulance also have a Youtube channel , containing videos on everything from how to deal with choking on popcorn to what to do if someone stops breathing.
Health-related apps are hugely popular now, and you use them to track everything from your calorie intake to your stool output The Red Cross have a free First Aid app which tells you what to do in 18 every day scenarios.
Perhaps the biggest help that social media can be is in its rapid response element – you can often get an answer more quickly from Twitter than you can from your doctor. I’ve seen friends post a Facebook picture of a strange rash on their child’s back, in the hope that someone in their network will be able to diagnose and reassure.
Of course it’s no substitute for proper medical advice, but when you need an answer right here, right now, social media can be very helpful, and yes, can even save lives.