Tuesday, February 3, 2004
What Would You Do: Having A Heart Attack
It's a fact: every 60 seconds someone dies from a heart attack. Many times, the victim ignores common warning signs. But what do you do if you know you're having a heart attack and you're all alone? Here's the Nightteam's Charles Perez with some life saving advice.
(WSVN) -- John Ritter was just 54 years old when he had massive heart failure and died.
Supermodel Krissy Taylor was only 17 when an asthma medication brought on sudden cardiac aritmia.
The lesson: be prepared for anything.
"Anyone can have an emergency situation," says Sary Garcia of the American of the Red Cross.
Sary is a first aid / CPR instructor with the Red Cross.
She says the worst mistake people make: Underestimating how serious the situation is.
"Very often they think it's muscle pain," says Sary. "'Oh, I've just overexerted myself,'" she adds quoting what someone might say when they are actually feeling a heart attack coming. But mistaking muscle pain for a bonnifide heart attack can kill you.
Sary says, "Mostly what people complain about is they feel a tightness in their chest. They feel like ... some people describe it as an elephant standing on top of your chest."
Men often complain their jaw feels sore ... for women .. their back hurts.
"Your body will tell you that something is wrong," says Sary. "Trust your body." So what do you do if you're home alone feeling chest pains?
"This is the time that he should pick up the phone and call 9-1-1, before anybody else," says Sary.
Next, he should make sure the front door is open ... so rescue crews can get in.
"If there are people outside the door, he should let them know that he is not feeling well," says Sary.
"This friend or neighbor, what should she be doing?" asks Charles.
"What she should be doing is talking to him, reassuring him," says Sary.
"If you have a prescription for a heart medication ... you should ask your friend to get it for you," says Charles. "And, keep in mind, many Cardiologists now recommend taking a couple of aspirin as soon as you suspect you're having a heart attack." Now, if you're the friend called to help ... you should also find out when the pain started ... what the symptoms are ... and write everything down for the paramedics.
But don't forget keep an eye on the patient at all times until help arrives
"Learn CPR, so that if somebody's heart all of a sudden stops circulating blood through the body, you know what to do," says Sary.
Knowing when and how to perform CPR can literally save someone's life.
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