First Aid for a Heart Attack

First aid cardiopulmonary resuscitation

We never really know how we’ll respond in the case of an emergency, until the moment is upon us. When it comes to a heart attack, acting quickly and calmly can be the key to saving someone’s life; being armed with the proper knowledge is essential.

Step 1: Recognizing the Symptoms

MedlinePlus – the National Institutes of Health’s Web site for patients and their families – reports that “the average person waits three hours before seeking help for symptoms of a heart attack,” and, as a result, many die before even reaching the hospital. It’s of utmost importance that we recognize the symptoms and take immediate action. If you or someone around you experiences chest pain often described as a squeezing or pressure sensation, cold sweats, light headedness, nausea, numbness, aching, or tingling in the left arm, shortness of breath or weakness and fatigue, respond immediately by moving on to Step 2.

Step 2: First Aid Treatment

Once symptoms are recognized, ask the individual to sit down, relax and try their best to keep calm. If they’re wearing restricting clothing, help them to loosen tighter fabrics. Inquire about whether or not the individual is currently on chest pain medicine, and if they’re still reporting intense discomfort after three minutes of rest or medication consumption, call 911. If they become unconscious, or already are unconscious, begin to administer CPR.

One medication that may be taken in the instance of a heart attack is nitroglycerin. Typically, a physician will prescribe this for a patient with a known heart condition. If someone has not previously been prescribed a prescription of this kind, you can ask them to chew and swallow an aspirin, after confirming they’re not allergic or instructed otherwise by their primary care physician. But, in the case of an aspirin, remember to call 911 first!

I am a Hockaday alum and graduate of Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. I am an aspiring writer and journalist, and, as an avid reader, I constantly exercise my imagination and whet my appetite for creativity. I am outgoing and personable, and I look forward to incorporating my innate enthusiasm for creativity into my work!

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