Having A Heart Attack?
Heart attack is little ill-mannered. It never takes permission before coming. It is your responsibility to be well prepared and armed with all the knowledge of first aid measures to deal with this “uninvited visitor” of yours.
Know and recognise the symptoms well: The foremost step towards surviving a heart attack is to recognize its symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms are not pronounced enough and can be taken lightly or confused with acidity. If any of the below mentioned symptoms, alone or in combination, lasts for more than five to seven minutes, look for help or call emergency medical care.
The commonest signs and symptoms of heart attack are:
- Pain or feeling of heavy pressure and tightness around the chest
- Unusual upper body discomfort
- Shortness of breath, even on rest or with minimal physical activity
- Heavy cold sweating, unexplained and excessive
- Pain radiating to neck, jaw, left shoulder and back
- Nausea and tiredness
- Light headedness or dizziness
Keep time by your side: “Time gone by” plays a crucial role in the management of heart attack. Acting speedily in reaction to heart attack symptoms can and have SAVED LIVES. When medical attention is given within an hour of the initial heart attack symptoms, artery-opening and clot-busting and medications can stop a heart attack. Waiting longer than 1-2 hours for treatment can increase the damage done to the heart and reduce the chances of survival.
If you think you are having a heart attack:
- Call your local emergency medical assistance number. If you don’t have access to any such contact, call out for other members present around you. Even if you are in an important meeting, travelling, or it is late in night, DO NOT hesitates to seek immediate help. If you are alone, drive yourself to the nearest medical facility, only as a LAST resort.
- Chew and swallow an aspirin ASAP, unless you are allergic to it or have been advised against it by your doctor.Keep nitroglycerin under the tongue, if prescribed.
- Try to remain conscious and stay calm. Deep breath.
When someone else is having a heart attack in front of you:
- Make the person sit down, rest, and try to keep him calm.
- Loosen any tight clothing.
- Ask if the person has already taken or takes any chest pain medication for a known heart disease (such as nitroglycerin).
- If he has not taken any medication, ask him if he is allergic to aspirin? If he says no, give him an aspirin right away and make him chew it rather than swallowing. It works faster when chewed and not swallowed.
- If the pain does not go away with rest or within three minutes of taking nitroglycerin, call for emergency medical help.
- If the person is unconscious, stops breathing and not responding to your instructions, call the nearest emergency number and begin CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) if you know who to do it.
In any scenario, DO NOT:
- Leave the person alone and unattended.
- Let the person to deny the symptoms and convince you not to call for emergency help.
- Give the person anything by mouth other than a nitroglycerin, if it has been already prescribed.