Tim is driving down the road eating a greasy double cheeseburger in between puffs on a cigarette. Suddenly he begins to experience nausea, sweating, chest pains, shortness of breath and shooting pains down his arms. Why, oh why, didn’t he go to the mall’s free blood pressure screening when he was home last month?
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A HEART ATTACK WHILE DRIVING
1. Chew an aspirin. Studies show doing this in the first few moments of a heart attack can lessen its severity. Always keep 80 mg aspirin within easy reach.
2. Turn on your flashers to warn others you are in trouble.
3. Pull to the side of the road as soon and as safely as possible.
4. Call 911 and give a clear description of your location.
5. Loosen clothing and stay calm. The goal is to keep your blood pressure as steady as possible. Now is not the time to get out and scream for help.
6. Cough. This can raise blood pressure temporarily, which helps if you are about to pass out.
REMEMBER: Most heart attack victims don’t immediately lose consciousness, so you probably have time to take certain actions. When there is loss of consciousness, it’s caused by a bad heart rhythm or by a large area of the heart not getting enough blood.
Source: Dr. Mike Salinger, interventional cardiologist at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare