According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are nearly 150 million emergency room visits each year. Reasons range from a broken bone, a burn, choking, a bee sting, a stroke, to heart attacks and more. The list goes on and on. In an earlier blog I wrote about heart attacks in women. But for most people, the hope is that it will never happen to them. Thatís why so many people donít give it a lot of thought and arenít prepared for a medical emergency when one occurs.
If that sounds like you, here are three important questions you should be asking:
- Would I recognize a medical emergency?
- Would I know when to call 9-1-1?
- What should I do after I call 9-1-1?
Not knowing the answers to these three important questions is one of the main reasons people die in a medical emergency even though their death could be preventable.† Unfortunately, 40 percent of Americans donít know a single symptom of a stroke even though itís the third most common cause of death in the United States.
Thatís why I, together with Shelly Glazier, have written a new book called Save Your Life: What To Do In A Medical Emergency. Itís a simple to read and easy to understand guide that answers the three important questions above. Here are four important examples taken from our Save Your Life book to help you when you are faced with a medical emergency.
If you think there could be a medical emergency:
- Call your doctor?
No! Waiting for the doctor to call back wastes valuable time.
- Rest to see if you feel better?
No! Waiting to see if the symptoms pass also wastes time that could save a life because the sooner you get medical care, the more likely you are to live.
- Drive yourself to the hospital?
No! If you drive yourself to the hospital, you might pass out or stop breathing on the way.
- Call a family member or friend for a ride to the hospital?
No! Do not ask family or friends to drive you to the hospital (unless emergency services are not available). If you lose consciousness, your driver likely wonít be able to help you.
Here is why you should call 9-1-1 immediately whenever you think itís an emergency:
- When you call 9-1-1, the responding Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) will monitor you. If you stop breathing or your heart stops beating, they will give you emergency treatment on the way to the hospital.
- They also will notify the emergency room staffs of your condition, so when you arrive they will know you need immediate treatment.
- Calling 9-1-1 is the safest and fastest way to get medical care. Remember, car accidents are more likely to happen when family or friends are trying to rush you to the hospital.
People Often AskÖ
Iíve had many symptoms at one time or another that I worried could be an emergency. How will I know when to call 9-1-1?
The Answer IsÖ
Everyone knows how his or her own body normally feels. When your body starts to feel very unusual or strange, donít try to diagnose the symptoms on your own. Call 9-1-1 immediately. For example, if you experience a sudden onset of extreme fatigue, or any other symptoms that youíve never felt before, donít ignore it. Call 9-1-1. It could be a heart attack.
The Center for 9-1-1 Says: Make the right call.† If it could be life threatening or youíre not sure, donít guessÖcall 9-1-1!
Earlier in this article I mentioned that only 40 percent of Americans know even one symptom of a stroke. Just in case you are one of them, here is what you need to remember to save someoneís life from a stroke. Remember the first letters; they spell the word FAST:
Common Symptoms of Stroke
The National Stroke Associationís ďACT FAST©Ē list can help you identify the symptoms of a stroke. People with high blood pressure or women on HRT are at more risk:
FACE:† Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
ARMS:† Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
SPEECH:† Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Ask them to repeat a phrase. Are the words slurred or strange?
TIME:† If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important because brain cells die every second.