First Aid for Heart Attack: What to Do and Not to Do
A heart attack is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Knowing what to do in the critical moments before professional help arrives can make a significant difference in the outcome. However, it's equally important to be aware of what actions to avoid. This blog will guide you through the essential first aid steps for a heart attack, as well as the things you should refrain from doing.
What to Do?
- Recognize the Signs:
Familiarize yourself with the common symptoms of a heart attack, which may include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, light headedness, and pain radiating down the arm or jaw.
- Call for Emergency Help:
Dial your local emergency number immediately. Do not wait or try to tough it out. Time is a critical factor in minimizing damage during a heart attack.
- Assist with Medication:
If the person experiencing the heart attack has been prescribed aspirin and is not allergic, help them chew and swallow a regular adult-sized aspirin (325 mg). Aspirin can help prevent further blood clotting.
- Monitor Vital Signs:
Keep a close eye on the person's breathing and pulse. Be prepared to perform CPR if their breathing stops and they lose consciousness.
- Keep the Person Calm and Comfortable:
Encourage the person to sit down, if possible, and reassure them that help is on the way. Loosen any tight clothing and provide a blanket if they are cold.
- Stay with Them:
Do not leave the person alone unless you absolutely have to. Having someone there for support can be immensely reassuring.
What Not to Do:
- Don't Ignore the Symptoms:
Ignoring or downplaying the signs of a heart attack can be dangerous. Prompt action is crucial, so do not hesitate to call for help.
- Avoid Self-Medication:
Do not give the person experiencing the heart attack any medication other than aspirin, and only if it has been prescribed to them. Improper medication can worsen the situation.
- Don't Drive to the Hospital:
It's generally safer to wait for professional medical help to arrive, as they are equipped to handle emergencies and can provide treatment en route to the hospital.
- Refrain from Giving Water or Food:
Even if the person asks for water or food, it's best to wait until medical professionals arrive. Ingesting anything can be risky during a heart attack.
- Avoid Overexertion:
Do not encourage the person to engage in physical activity, as it can strain the heart further. Instead, help them find a comfortable resting position.
- Resist the Urge to Perform CPR if Not Trained:
If you are not trained in CPR, it's better to wait for professional help. Untrained attempts at CPR may cause more harm than good.
Being prepared and knowing how to respond to a heart attack can save lives. Remember, the key is to act swiftly and seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. By following the appropriate first aid steps and avoiding actions that could exacerbate the situation, you can help support someone experiencing a heart attack until trained medical professionals arrive on the scene.
Dr. D.K. Jhamb, Director & Head of the Department
Book an Appointment