By Reverend Joseph M. Esper
- Save Your Own Life if You’re Alone and Having a Heart Attack
(by Allan Leonard, in the medical newsletter Sound Body)
“In many cases, heart attacks strike with no prior physical warnings, and many people are alone when it happens. If you feel the signs of one coming on, get to an emergency room ASAP—what you do during the early moments can mean the difference between life and death.
“What are the signs? Well, when your heart stops beating properly you will begin to feel faint—you have about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. But if you’re having a heart attack and there’s no one around to perform CPR on you, there are things you can do to help yourself.
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“Immediately take a DEEP breath—and then cough twice, as hard as you can! The cough must also be deep and prolonged. Wait a couple of seconds, then take another DEEP breath and again cough twice—just as before—and continue to repeat this procedure. This is a simple form of CPR. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain its normal rhythm.
“Once your heart has stabilized, chew and swallow one aspirin and take one full teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or one full tablespoon of Tabasco sauce) and swallow it with a glass of water. The aspirin will thin the blood and prevent platelets from sticking. The cayenne or Tabasco sauce will dilate your blood vessels—so blood can flow more freely. [Also,] cayenne packed into a wound will stop the bleeding in seconds—no matter how severe the wound. And, since the area is already in a state of shock, it will cause little or no pain.”
- Remembering These Questions May Be a Life-Saver if Someone is Having A Stroke
Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize symptoms. Now doctors say any bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:
- Ask the individual to smile.
- Ask him or her to raise both arms.
- Ask the person to speak a single sentence.
If he or she has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. Widespread use of this test could result in prompt diagnosis and treatment of the stroke, thereby preventing brain damage.
Also, some medical authorities suggest three other simple treatments that may help prevent brain damage while help is on the way: (1) Have the stroke victim swallow a magnesium tablet or capsule. (2) Rub capsaicin cream on his or her hands to stimulate blood flow. (3) Give the person an Irish Coffee to drink. (Whiskey and caffeine are, separately, of no benefit in this situation—but when combined, they work to prevent much of the brain damage associated with strokes.)
This article was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated.