Let’s say it’s 6:15 p.m. and you’re driving home (alone, of course) after an unusually hard day on the job. You’re really tired, upset, and frustrated. Suddenly, you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home; unfortunately, you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that far. What can you do? You’ve been trained in CPR, but the guy who taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself.
Without help, the person whose heart stops beating properly has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough. The cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. And a cough must be repeated about every 2 seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.
Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain its normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital.
The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.