Ebola may have every Juan cowering in fear. But though highly-contagious, the virus from West Africa is but a baby when compared to the life-snatching power of a heart attack. As the Department of Health has detailed lately, heart attack remains the top killer in the Philippines, especially during Christmas and New Year.
Knowing how to respond, then, to someone who is fighting the claws of death in a heart attack is crucial. I remember a story about Metro Bank executive who died while playing tennis. Apparently, he suffered from a heart attack. However, the attending doctor, curious about what happened, asked the person who was on the other side of the tennis court when the fatal event happened. Quipped the doctor: “Why did you not do CPR?” To which the player replied: “I was afraid to break his ribs.” The doctor, furious, retorted: “You could have saved him. People can live with broken ribs.”
Well, here’s to greater chances of you saving a life when someone is taking a beating from a heart attack. Speed of execution is required to make these steps useful for truth to tell every second counts.
#10: Put him in a comfortable position.
When you think someone – a close relative or loved one – is having a heart attack, have him/her sit down with his back fully-supported. It is vital for the patient to rest and stay calm. If you are not sure about the symptoms please check here. It is good to note that not every one will display similar signs.
So if the patient is in a crowded room make sure people do not crowd him. If it’s impossible to attain some peace and quiet (e.g., videoke bar) put him in a nearby place free of noise with plenty of fresh air.
#9: Loosen any tight clothing.
By loosening his clothing, you allow blood to flow. For instance, loosen his belt and if need be his tight pants. Don’t be afraid to do this as your inaction could be fatal. This is a medical emergency and is therefore not the time to be timid.
#8: Ask the patient if he has any medication with him for chest pain due to a known heart condition. Help him take it.
Medication like nitroglycerin are helpful in this situation. This is no time to second-guess so make sure you fetch the information straight from the horse’s mouth. Give him some water to take his meds.
On the other hand, in the absence of any medication you could try Aspirin as it has been proven effective in this particular emergency. Have him chew it rather than swallowing it as research shows it is more effective. Good old aspirin helps by inhibiting the platelets in the bloodstream.
#7: Call for help. The faster he gets to a hospital, the better.
Let the professionals handle the situation. The faster you can do this, the better. Especially if the pain remains after 3 minutes even after taking medication, you should let in the pro’s.
If you are in a mall have customer service call a nearby ambulance. If you are in a public place like the public market, do not hesitate to ask for any nearby carenderia or business to call for the municipal ambulance or to fetch necessary personnel.
However, if you’re alone, get your phone to work. Tell your best buddy or a sister of the medical emergency and to fetch you an ambulance at your location ASAP.
#6: If the person has become unconscious and unresponsive, administer CPR while waiting for medical aid.
CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a lifesaver, do not hesitate to do it when necessary. However, note that if the person is responsive – meaning he can still talk and is conscious – CPR is counterproductive.
Since this is an emergency, checking for pulse may be a waste of time. Instead go straight to compressions. Put your ear close to the victim and listen for breathing – however slight. If breathing, there is no need to administer CPR as it could cause the heart to stop beating.
#5: For infants and for younger children who are unconscious and unresponsive, 1 minutes CPR should be timely.
As children have a more delicate ecosystem, you should be careful not to overdo it. Again, double check for breathing signs. If conscious, do not utilize the procedure.
#3: Do not be fooled, even the patient himself could be unaware of the heart attack.
So if he talks you out of it, put some sense into him. In many instances, even the person is not convinced he is suffering from a heart attack until it’s too late.
#2: Do not give the person food or anything other than his prescribed heart medication (nitroglycerin or aspirin).
This is not the time for him to munch on those chips or get a bottle of cold beer. No! Double no! Eating could aggravate his situation which could be turn fatal any minute.
If you are panicky, take deep breaths and think peaceful thoughts (much like Wolverine in their latest X-men flick). Remember a heart attack is like a man drowning, you need to throw him a line. Failing to do so could be fatal.
Statistics has it that people who receive treatment in the first 60 minutes upon the onset of heart attack symptoms triple their chances of surviving the incident.
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