Heart Attacks Toolbox Talk
In this toolbox talk, learn about heart attacks, how to identify the symptoms, and what to do in case of emergency.
Heart Attacks Safety Talk
Did you know that according to the CDC, there are 735,000 Americans who suffer from heart attacks each year? In your lifetime, there is a good chance you will witness someone suffer a heart attack or you may have one yourself. Everyone needs to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. It is also just as important to know what to do if you are a witness to someone having a heart attack. In this toolbox talk, we'll cover all these items!
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood flowing to the heart is blocked. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. Heart attacks can be fatal, but thankfully medicine and awareness have helped save lives.
Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack
While heart attacks are a very serious threat to the patient’s life, there is still a 90% chance of surviving provided they get the help that they need in time.
If you or someone you know are suffering from a heart attack, you should get help immediately. You should never ignore the signs of a heart attack or brush them off. Women and men both experience chest discomfort, but women are much more likely to experience other symptoms.
Here are a few of heart attack signs to look out for:
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. The pain associated with a heart attack is often described as a burning or pinching sensation.
Radiating pain in one or both arms
People having a heart attack feel this kind of pain because they are experiencing decreased blood flow to the heart.
Neck and jaw pain
The pain is typically described as a tightness, pressure, or ache in the neck or jaw.
Shortness of breath
The pressure and not being able to take a full breath may seem like a lung problem like bronchitis, but it can be one of the first signs of heart problems.
This fatigue won't be associated with sleep deprivation or a mental health issue like depression; it will seemingly have no explanation.
Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness
As the heart struggles and fails to deliver oxygen, this adversely affects the brain. Without enough oxygen, a person will feel dizzy and light-headed or even faint.
Nausea, vomiting, or indigestion
Stomach pains, nausea, and indigestion have countless causes, but the likelihood of them indicating a heart attack rises if these symptoms are associated with shortness of breath, sweating, or dizziness.
In the minutes before a heart attack, you may begin sweating excessively. It is generally described as cold sweats.
What Should You Do if Someone Has a Heart Attack?
The very first thing you should do is call 911! Emergency medical staff are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.
As long as you aren't allergic to aspirin, you should next chew and swallow an aspirin tablet. Aspirin helps by inhibiting platelets which can reduce a rapidly growing blood clot. It only takes a small dose of aspirin to help, so large doses should be avoided.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Heart Attacks
You won’t need to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) unless the heart attack victim goes into cardiac arrest. This is when they are unconscious and have stopped breathing. If this happens, CPR will keep the blood circulating while you wait for the ambulance or for someone to get a defibrillator.
How to Prepare for a Heart Attack
No one plans on having a heart attack. Being prepared can be the difference in life or death for someone experiencing a heart attack. These are some of the ways you can be prepared:
Heart Attack First Aid
If you suspect a co-worker is having a heart attack, you should:
There are things you should not do as well including:
Heart Attack Prevention
There are several ways you can prevent heart attacks:
Heart Attack Safety Starts with You
Take heart attack symptoms seriously. We know most of the people we work with pretty well. If something seems wrong, talk to the person or get a supervisor involved.
It is important to know what your emergency response plan at your worksite is for a medical emergency like a heart attack. Knowing who to call, what the address of the worksite is, and who is CPR trained onsite can save the victim’s life.
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