Coughing Can Help You Survive a Heart Attack Alone:True or False, The Experts Finally Answer

It’s in the early evening and you are alone and just about to leave work for home. It has been an unusually tiring day and you can’t wait to go home and relax. You are tired, frustrated and stressed out. Suddenly you experience a crushing pain  in the chest, it drags out  and spreads along your left arm, you start experiencing pain in the jaw the and back, you suddenly start experiencing a sense of déjà vu and the pain in the chest is now constricting and feels like a something weighing down heavily on your chest. A hospital may be just 5 km away, but will you make it? You know about performing first aid and emergency procedures on others, you know how to perform CPR on someone else, but were you taught to do it on yourself? The big question is, how do you survive an attack when alone?

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1What do you do in a heart attack

This is a huge question that not many think of asking themselves. You might have read so many first aid articles on the net to learn how to perform emergency procedures on others, how to tie a wound or administer treatment for shock or stroke. You know how to do CPR but what happens when the victim is yourself and there is nobody present to help you. The worst case scenario is a heart attack which requires some quick thinking and emergency action. But how true is the current viral advice on self-treatment for heart attacks?

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2What should you do if you feel you may lose consciousness?

There are several cases when people suffering a heart attack invariable are alone and with no help in sight. When you heart is beating improperly and you begin to feel faint, you may have just about ten seconds before you lose consciousness. So that fine time frame of just ten seconds makes all the difference between life and death. What to do you do? One email and advice going around on social media that is almost near viral says to cough vigorously and repeatedly, is this right or wrong?

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3What the coughing technique is all about

The advice says that you should cough repeatedly and vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough and the cough should be deep and prolonged in the same way when coughing to produce sputum from inside the chest. Then the breath and cough should be repeated every two seconds and not let up till help arrives or till the heart is normal again. The advice has been attributed to a nurse but how good or bad is this advice, read on.

The reason for the advice of coughing to stop a heart attack is that deep breathing improves oxygen circulation in the lungs. The coughing movement then squeezes the heart and keeps blood circulating. the pressure of squeezing helps the heart regain its normal rhythm. Now several cardiologists have said that this, in fact, is something very dangerous.

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4Here’s what the experts say

Research from three sites, Harvard health, the Cleveland heart clinic and a report in the NY times have all said a big NO!! Cough CPR does not help a person in the case of a heart attack. The Cleveland clinic  states that “The real danger about the misinformation regarding so-called “cough CPR” is that it could prevent heart attack victims from getting the life-saving help they need.”

Image Source: clevelandclinic.org
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