It’s a nightmare scenario. There you are at a dinner or party and someone suddenly collapses, gasping. If they were choking, you’d know what to do – the Heimlich maneuver. But this person is having a heart attack. You stand there frozen, not sure what to do. Let’s fix that right now.
Here are five steps to take if you suspect someone is suffering a heart attack:
Call 911. The emergency dispatchers will send help and guide you in providing assistance until the EMTs arrive.
Ease strain on the heart. Get the person into a half-sitting position with their head and shoulders well supported. Have them bend their knees. Loosen their clothing at the neck and waist.
Give an aspirin. If the person is able to swallow, have them chew a 300 mg aspirin tablet. This will help prevent blood clots and thus reduce the chance of damage to the heart muscle.
Administer CPR. If you don’t know it yet, you’ll sign up immediately after this experience, won’t you?
Look for an AED. Many public buildings now have Automated External Defibrillators. The devices care clear instructions and are designed for use by laymen. Basically, you attach the AED’s pads as instructed and the machine talks you through the rest of the process.
The Christmas season with all its demands is arguably prime time for stress-induced heart attacks. Take a few minutes to be ready in case this unwelcome holiday visitor makes an appearance in your circle of family, friends or colleagues. Who knows, you might give someone the gift of life.