Emergency care for a heart attack
A heart attack can strike anyone at any time. It can strike without warning. Symptoms that could occur are light-headedness, dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea or discomfort or pain which spreads beyond the chest to the shoulders, neck, jaw, teeth, or one or both arms and occasionally, the upper abdomen. There might also be an uncomfortable pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of the chest. On the contrary, for some people there are no warning signs at all.
What should you do in an emergency
In an emergency where you or someone else has a heart attack, the first thing to do is dial 911 or your local emergency number. Never ignore or try to handle the heart attack by yourself. If your place does not have emergency care access in the vicinity, call a friend or neighbour and ask them to drive you to the nearest hospital. As far as possible, do not try to drive yourself, this could be dangerous for you and for others.
Take an aspirin tablet, chew and swallow it. However, if your doctor has advised against it due to an allergy, avoid it. If you think you are experiencing a heart attack and your doctor has prescribed nitroglycerin for you, take it. However, never take nitroglycerin that has been prescribed for someone else.
Start CPR if the person is unconscious
When you find another person unconscious as a result of a heart attack, perform CPR. If there is a 911 dispatcher or an emergency medical specialist, ask them to do this. In case, you are alone with the person who is unconscious and do not know CPR, avoid mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing and just go in for chest compressions at the rate of about 100 per minute. Handle things till help arrives.