Wednesday, April 18, 2018

First Aid Myth Busters

First Aid Myth Busters No.1 – Coughing to prevent a heart attack
Would you be worried if I said you have a 50% chance of experiencing a Myocardial Infarction before your 70th birthday? Maybe?

If you’re a medical professional you already know what we’re talking about here. In fact you probably call it for the sake of time and syllables, a “Myo-infarc”. Drop that one at your next social function and see your perceived social status climb a notch or two.

The rest of us might have already guessed that a myocardial infarction (officially an Acute Myo-Infarc or AMI) is the fancy name for a heart attack, which occurs when more than 85% of an artery supplying blood to the heart is blocked by fatty plaque.

Wait a second… I stand a 1 in 2 chance of having a heart attack before 70?
Going by current Australian statistics, yes. It’s a little closer to 1 in 3 for women, although not so if you smoke. They are prickly stats and whether it ends up being you or someone you know, the chances are pretty high that one day you might find yourself at the scene when a heart attack strikes.

It’s invaluable then to recognise the signs and know how best to respond.

Enter myth in question: Coughing to prevent heart attack
There’s been an email flying through cyber space for over 10 years now, recommending that if someone was caught alone experiencing symptoms of a heart attack that “these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously… with deep breaths” as a form of do-it-yourself CPR or “Cough CPR” as it’s now been coined.

The idea being that “deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating”.

So could “Cough CPR” save me from a fatal heart attack?
Let’s put this one to bed really quickly shall we? Those in need of CPR are those who have suffered a cardiac arrest, meaning their heart has stopped pumping blood around the body. There are two clear signs of cardiac arrest; 1) the person is unconscious and, 2) their breathing is abnormal or non-existent. They are down for the count.

So have you ever tried coughing while you’re unconscious? “What do you take me for, a fool?” Hey, I wasn’t the one forwarding the email to all my friends and family. You see our dilemma.

You might as well tell someone to perform their own open heart surgery, as both procedures are as impossible as the other. That’s why they call it unconsciousness I guess.

Cough CPR is busted but could coughing while still conscious help?
Another theory might be that coughing could prolong consciousness a little or help to “sweep out the cob webs” in the arteries from where a heart attack originates? For a conclusive answer I turned to First Aider trainer and experienced paramedic, Glenn Dudley.

“Ludicrous!” says Glenn.

“Coughing does not get rid of fatty plaque out of an artery… you need to go to a catheterisation lab and have stents put in to achieve that.”

Further to this, “when someone coughs, you get a raised intracranial pressure (that’s the pressure in your Mr Potato), which can then raise mean arterial pressure (blood pressure)”. Most heart attack victims will already have high blood pressure so in effect, coughing may actually worsen their condition.

Thanks Glenn. I think our job is done here. The verdict?

First Aid Myth Busted

Setting the record straight
When it comes to heart attacks, recognising the early warning signs is key to getting the best outcome.

The movies aren’t real. Sorry to burst your Hollywood bubble, but the crushing chest pain and sudden collapse is not the usual and most victims have warning signs well before this occurs.

What to do if someone is having a heart attack
The best response to any of those signs is to act early by calling 000 (or your country’s emergency number).

Provide reassurance, encourage rest and make sure the casualty takes any medication that their doctor has prescribed in case of chest pain.

If you’re the victim, your energy is best spent getting help from a bystander or calling emergency services yourself and then resting until help arrives.

cardiovascular disease has stabilized

If your cardiovascular disease has stabilized, it is probably safe to have sex

According to a new scientific statement issued by the American Heart Association, it is probably safe to have sex if your cardiovascular disease has stabilized.
“Sexual activity is a major quality of life issue for men and women with cardiovascular disease and their partners,” said Glenn N. Levine, M.D., lead author of the statement and a professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Cardiovascular events — such as heart attacks or chest pain caused by heart disease — rarely occur during sexual activity, because sexual activity is usually for a short time. “Some patients will postpone sexual activity when it is actually relatively safe for them to engage in it,” said Levine, who is also director of the Cardiac Care Unit at the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center in Houston. “On the other hand, there are some patients for whom it may be reasonable to defer sexual activity until they’re assessed and stabilized.”
If you have unstable cardiovascular disease or if your symptoms are severe, you should be treated and stabilized before having sex, said Levine, who’s also a volunteer with the American Heart Association.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Facts About Heart Disease in Women

Facts About Heart Disease in Women

Do you know what causes cardiovascular disease in women? What about the survival rate? Or whether women of all ethnicities share the same risk?
The fact is: cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface.
There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason. In this section, we’ll arm you with the facts and dispel some myths – because the truth can no longer be ignored.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 8-14 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, a chance to appreciate the unsung heroes who serve our communities answering and dispatching 911 calls.
2018 is especially significant as it marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 call:
"[O]n November 8, 1967, House Congressional Resolution 361 was adopted: “The United States should have one uniform nationwide fire reporting telephone number…and police reporting telephone number."
"[I]n Haleyville, Alabama, on February 16, 1968, U.S. Rep. Tom Donald Fike Bevill became the first individual in the United States to answer a 911 emergency phone call. Rep. Bevill answered the call from inside the Haleyville Police Station – where this jurisdiction had unwittingly set up the first Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP)."
According to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), “…an estimated 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. each year. In many areas, 80% or more are from wireless devices.”
Calling 911: Best Practices
When you call 911, an EMS dispatcher with specialized training will answer the call. The dispatcher will ask for basic information, such as the type of emergency, location, the number and conditions of those who are ill or injured and what care is being provided. Answer the dispatcher’s questions as clearly as possible, and only hang up if directed to do so by the dispatcher.
NENA suggests following these best practices whenever calling 911:
When to call:  An emergency is any serious situation where a law enforcement officer, fire fighter or emergency medical help is needed right away. If you are unsure of whether your situation is an emergency, go ahead and call 911.
If you call 911 by mistake, do not hang up the phone: Stay on the line until you can tell the call-taker that you called by accident and there is no emergency. This saves the call-taker from having to call you back and confirm there is no emergency, or possibly sending police to check your address for an emergency.
Do your best to stay calm and answer all questions: The questions 911 call takers ask, no matter how irrelevant they seem, are important in helping get the first responders to you as fast as possible.
Know the location of the emergency: The wireless 911 caller must be aware that the 911 center that answers the call may not be the 911 center that services the area that the wireless caller is calling from. Look for landmarks, cross street signs and buildings. Know the name of the city or county you are in.
Teach your children how to call 911: Be sure they know what 911 is, how to dial from your home and cell phone and to trust the 911 call-taker. Make sure your child is physically able to reach at least one phone in your home. When calling 911 your child needs to know their name, parent’s name, telephone number and, most importantly, their address. Be sure all members of your household are aware that prank or harassing calls to 911 will be dealt with by local law enforcement agencies.
To all the 911 call-takers, thank you for all you do to help make our workplaces and communities safer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

“Stayin’ Alive”

Be the Difference for Someone You Love
If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend. 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes. Unfortunately, only about 46% of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest get the immediate help that they need before professional help arrives.
Music Can Help Save Lives
During CPR, you should push on the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. The beat of “Stayin’ Alive” is a perfect match for this.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Cell phones, navigation screens, car stereos or even eating while behind the wheel…they all add up to distracted driving, and that can lead to serious accidents or fatalities.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. #cpr #florencecpr
During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
The NHTSA offers suggestions for actions we can all take right now to help keep our roads safer:
Encourage teens to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.
Parents first have to lead by example—by never driving distracted—as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Remind your teen driver that in States with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.
Employers can have a significant impact on driving behavior by making distracted driving awareness part of the company’s workplace safety culture:
Establish company policies regarding cell phone use in company vehicles.
Make distracted driving the topic of your next safety committee meeting.
Adding distracted driving awareness courses to your ongoing workplace safety training schedule.
HSI companies Summit Training Source and CLMI offer a number of safe driving topics, including:
Distracted Driving: Forever & Ever
This course tells the story of a distracted driving accident that leaves an impactful and lasting message with its viewers. Based on real-life situations, the course shows how one wrong decision can drastically change the lives of everyone involved. This important story compels drivers of all ages to realize that, when you are behind the wheel, there is nothing that takes precedence over operating the vehicle safely.
Distracted Driving for the Everyday Driver
In this course, viewers will become familiar with common driver distractions like cell phone driving, from creating unsafe situations on the road and how to prevent them from affecting their safe driving practices. Topics covered include safe and effective use of comfort controls, GPS technology and cell phones.
Download this helpful infographic on distracted driving that you can hand out at your next safety meeting or post in your company break room. #cpr #florencecpr