Have a Heart Attack (or think you're having one)
It’s the end of a long, stressful day and you’re frustrated or angry or exhausted—and alone. Suddenly you feel severe chest pain that radiates to your left arm or jaw—a deep, crushing pain that gets worse with exertion. Maybe you become nauseated and feel what Kudrath describes as “an impending sense of doom.”
● Call 911. Yep, that’s the first step, because this isn’t one you can MacGyver your way out of.
● Having said that, there are things you can do: Chew—don’t swallow—an aspirin. “The most common cause
of a heart attack is when plaque in the arteries rupture and blood platelets bind to the tears, forming a blood clot that stops blood flow to the heart,” says Kudrath. “Chewing an aspirin disables the platelets and helps prevent further clotting.”
● Don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital. Same goes if you’re a bystander wanting to help the victim. “It may seem like a waste to wait for an ambulance, but once it arrives, paramedics have the knowledge and tools to start treating you [right away],” Kudrath says.
If you’re helping a heart attack victim, the American Heart Association says to perform “hands- only” CPR. Push “hard and fast” on the center of the chest, at a rate of 100 compressions per minute, until help arrives.