Medical emergencies are scary enough when someone else has to call 911 for you, but what if you’re all alone, and don’t have access to a phone? Here are some tips you can use to save your own life! These come from cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, author of You: The Owner’s Manual.
- Emergency #1: You’re choking on a piece of food, and you can’t breathe. Dr. Oz says there are two ways to perform the “Self-Heimlich maneuver.” They both require putting enough pressure around your midsection to force out whatever’s blocking your air passage. One way is to lean over a chair, table, or railing and thrust your belly hard against the edge. The second way to perform a Self-Heimlich is to make a fist with one hand, and place it in the soft area above your belly button – right below the rib cage. Then, grab your fist with your other hand and pull it hard against your belly in a quick, upward motion.
- Emergency #2 : You cut yourself, and you’re bleeding all over the place. First, find a clean towel or t-shirt and wrap your wound tightly enough to apply pressure, but not so tight that you cut off circulation, otherwise, you’ll risk amputation. If blood seeps through the first layer of material, keep adding new layers while applying constant pressure to the wound! You can also try adding a layer of ice between bandages, since the cold will help constrict blood vessels, and slow the bleeding. Then, as you look for help, try keeping your wound elevated above your heart, since gravity will help slow bleeding too.
- Emergency #3: You think you’re having a heart-attack, and you can’t get to a hospital. The most common symptoms of a heart-attack include crushing chest pains, shortness of breath, sudden nausea and profuse sweating. If you experience any of those symptoms, Dr. Oz says you should force yourself to cough a few times – because coughing squeezes your chest, and helps keep your blood flowing. Then, grab an aspirin and chew it until it dissolves in your mouth. It’ll taste awful, but chewing will help get the blood-thinning properties of aspirin into your blood stream faster, and sometimes that’ll be enough to stop a heart-attack in its tracks.