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Posted by on in Safety

About Heart Attacks

 

A heart attack is a frightening experience. If you have experienced a heart attack, or are close with someone who has, you should know this: You are not alone. In fact, tens of thousands of people survive heart attacks and go on to lead productive, enjoyable lives. 

As you work toward recovery, the frequently asked questions below can help you better understand what has happened, and how your heart can heal. Knowledge is power. Arming yourself with this information can help you can live a healthier, longer life.

See how coronary artery damage leads to a heart attack.

Heart attack questions and answers

What is a heart attack?

Your heart muscle needs oxygen to survive. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely.

View an animation of blood flow between the heart and lungs.

This happens because coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood flow can become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. This slow process is known as atherosclerosis.

When plaque within a heart artery breaks, a blood clot forms around the plaque. This blood clot can block the blood flow through the artery to the heart muscle.

Ischemia results when the heart muscle is starved for oxygen and nutrients. When damage or death of part of the heart muscle occurs as a result of ischemia, it’s called a heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI).

About every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack.

Why didn’t I have any warning?

The process of atherosclerosis has no symptoms. When a coronary artery narrows and constricts blood flow, other nearby blood vessels that serve the heart sometimes expand to compensate, which may explain why there are no warning signs.

Such a network of expanded nearby blood vessels is called collateral circulation, and it helps protect some people from heart attacks by delivering needed blood to the heart. Collateral circulation can also develop after a heart attack to help the heart muscle recover.

Is my heart permanently damaged?

When a heart attack occurs, the heart muscle that has lost blood supply begins to suffer injury. The amount of damage to the heart muscle depends on the size of the area supplied by the blocked artery and the time between injury and treatment.

Heart muscle damaged by a heart attack heals by forming scar tissue. It usually takes several weeks for your heart muscle to heal. The length of time depends on the extent of your injury and your own rate of healing.

The heart is a very tough organ. Even though a part of it may have been severely injured, the rest of the heart keeps working. But, because of the damage, your heart may be weakened, and unable to pump as much blood as usual.

With proper treatment and lifestyle changes after a heart attack, further damage can be limited or prevented.

Learn more about heart damage detection.

Will I recover from my heart attack?

The answer is most likely yes.

The heart muscle begins to heal soon after a heart attack. It usually takes about eight weeks to heal.

Scar tissue may form in the damaged area, and that scar tissue does not contract or pump as well as healthy muscle tissue. As a consequence, the extent of damage to the heart muscle can impact how well the heart pumps blood throughout the body.

How much pumping function is lost depends on the size and location of the scar tissue. Most heart attack survivors have some degree of coronary artery disease (CAD) and will have to make important lifestyle changes and possibly take medication to prevent a future heart attack. Taking these steps can help you lead a full, productive life.

Learn more about recovering from heart attack.

Is all chest pain a heart attack?

No. One very common type of chest pain is called angina. It’s a recurring discomfort that usually lasts only a few minutes. Angina occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get the blood supply and oxygen that it needs.

The difference between angina and a heart attack is that angina attacks don’t permanently damage the heart muscle.

There are different types of angina, including:

  • Stable angina, or angina pectoris Stable angina often occurs during exercise or emotional stress when your heart rate and blood pressure increase, and your heart muscle needs more oxygen. Learn more about stable angina.
  • Unstable angina, sometimes referred to as acute coronary syndrome Unstable angina occurs while you may be resting or sleeping, or with little physical exertion. It comes as a surprise. Unstable angina can lead to a heart attack and it should be treated as an emergency. Learn more about unstable angina.

What are the different medical terms for a heart attack?

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS): An umbrella term for situations where the blood supplied to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked. Learn more about ACS.

STEMI: A common name for ST-elevation myocardial infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage in a coronary artery.

NSTEMI: A non-ST-elevated myocardial infarction, a type of heart attack in which an artery is partially blocked and severely reduces blood flow.

Myocardial infarction (MI): The damaging or death of an area of the heart muscle (myocardium) resulting from a blocked blood supply to that area. It’s also the medical term for a heart attack.

Coronary thrombosis: Formation of a clot in one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. Also called coronary occlusion.

Coronary occlusion: An obstruction of a coronary artery that hinders blood flow to some part of the heart muscle. Coronary occlusion is a cause of heart attack.

Are there other causes of heart attack besides blockage?

Sometimes a coronary artery temporarily contracts or goes into spasm. When this happens the artery narrows, and blood flow to part of the heart muscle decreases or stops.

The causes of spasms are unclear. A spasm can occur in normal-appearing blood vessels as well as in vessels partly blocked by atherosclerosis. A severe spasm can cause a heart attack.

Another rare cause of heart attack is spontaneous coronary artery dissection, which is a spontaneous tearing of the coronary artery wall.

How is a heart attack different from cardiac arrest?

People often use these terms to mean the same thing, but they describe different events.

A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. It’s a circulation problem.

With sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.

A heart attack can cause a cardiac arrest. In cardiac arrest (also called sudden cardiac death or SCD), death results when the heart suddenly stops working properly. This is caused by irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias.

The most common arrhythmia in cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation. This is when the heart’s lower chambers suddenly start beating chaotically and don’t pump blood. Death occurs within minutes after the heart stops.

Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is performed and a defibrillator is used within minutes to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm.

Learn more about the differences between heart attack and cardiac arrest

You aren’t alone

Connect with other heart attack survivors and caregivers through our Support Network.

Learn more about diseases and conditions that affect your heart.

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Posted by on in Safety

 

Tourniquets: Should you use one in an emergency?

The First Aid classes at OC Safety addresses the use of tourniquets in cases of severe bleeding that pressure alone cannot stop.

We also indicate that the use of a tourniquet by untrained rescuers can easily result in more harm than good. The use of tourniquets has a bit of a spotty history, in that there are many opinions as to their efficacy, some using no more than anecdotal evidence. We’ll take a look at the related issues in this post, but keep one overriding fact in mind – you should never try to use a tourniquet to control severe bleeding until after first attempting targeted direct pressure. Most bleeding can be stopped very well by this method alone, even bleeding that is coming from a large vein or artery. Given enough time, the bleeding will usually stop. Uncontrolled bleeding is one of the most preventable causes of death, so there may indeed be occasions where proper use of a tourniquet can save the life of a bleeding victim.

 

Tourniquet use cover a wide range. Issues include:

·         Applying too loosely. This can causing bleeding to worsen, as the return or venous blood is blocked but arterial blood continues to pass by the tourniquet.

·         Releasing it too soon, causing severe bleeding to resume. Not only can the bleeding result in death, but the returning blood flow can also damage compressed blood vessels.

·         Leaving it on too long, causing neurovascular damage and tissue death. Generally, permanent nerve, muscle and blood vessel damage can occur after about two hours.

·         Placing it too far away from the wound, or on the wrong type of wound (i.e. wounds at a joint)

·         Fabricating a tourniquet from an inappropriate material. Parachute cord can cut into the skin, blood pressure cuffs can loosen. Tourniquets should be 1” to 2” wide. The wider the tourniquet, the more pressure will be required. Commercially available tourniquets such as the CAT are recommended over one improvised out of found materials.

·         Periodic loosening (due to pain or concerns about blood flow to vital organs), which leads to the victim slowly bleeding to death.

·         Applying it to a victim with low blood pressure (i.e., someone receiving CPR or in shock) can lead to increased bleeding if the victim is subsequently resuscitated, as the tourniquet pressure that was effective earlier is now insufficient for the higher re-established blood pressure.

We’ve looked at things not to do with a tourniquet, but if one is in fact necessary, principles to remember when applying a tourniquet include:

·         The tourniquet must completely stop arterial (e.g. moving away from the heart) blood flow.

·         Larger limbs require maintaining more pressure.

·         As tourniquet width increases, required pressure increases (the material will also tend to bend in the middle, moving pressure towards the center and away from the edges).

·         Place a tourniquet approximately two inches from the wound if able. Repositioning may be necessary if the chosen location proves to be ineffective. Make sure it is applied upstream; i.e. between the wound and the heart.

·         Apply with as much direct skin contact as possible to reduce chances of the clothing causing the tourniquet to slip.

·         Record the time of application for EMS; write it on the limb itself or in close proximity.

·         If EMS is significantly delayed, cooling the limb with ice/cold packs (or exposing it to a cold environment) may help reduce tissue damage.

Professional healthcare providers will go through intensive training in order to learn how and when to use a tourniquet effectively.

Even then, dangers are still present. For the lay rescuer, remember: always apply targeted, direct external pressure as the first line of care for bleeding. Only when this fails should a tourniquet be applied. Loss of life due to bleeding outweighs loss of limb due to complications with tourniquet use. For information derived from a 2016 survey of EMS agencies.

We’ve looked at things not to do with a tourniquet, but if one is in fact necessary, principles to remember when applying a tourniquet include:

·         The tourniquet must completely stop arterial (e.g. moving away from the heart) blood flow.

·         Larger limbs require maintaining more pressure.

·         As tourniquet width increases, required pressure increases (the material will also tend to bend in the middle, moving pressure towards the center and away from the edges).

·         Place a tourniquet approximately two inches from the wound if able. Repositioning may be necessary if the chosen location proves to be ineffective. Make sure it is applied upstream; i.e. between the wound and the heart.

·         Apply with as much direct skin contact as possible to reduce chances of the clothing causing the tourniquet to slip.

·         Record the time of application for EMS; write it on the limb itself or in close proximity.

·         If EMS is significantly delayed, cooling the limb with ice/cold packs (or exposing it to a cold environment) may help reduce tissue damage.

 

You can schedule a First Aid CPR training class under calendar on our website.....  

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Who Should Be CPR Certified?Who Should Be CPR Certified?

At OC Safety, we're proud to offer comprehensive safety training courses ranging from Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Certification to basic First Aid training to people throughout Orange County, CA. One of our most popular course offerings is CPR certification. CPR certification is useful to everyone - from members of the general public to professionals in a wide range of industries. Many professions require CPR certification. However, but even if your job doesn’t, it’s important to be well-acquainted with the life-saving techniques of CPR so that you are ready to take action should a family member, friend, or stranger be affected by an emergency situation.

Professions That Benefit from CPR Certification?

Wondering if you should get certified in CPR? Here's a list of a few professions that can benefit from CPR certification, even it it may may not be a requirement:

  • Medical Professionals: First things first: any and all medical professional should learn CPR. Even dentists, because of the intensity of the procedures they perform, are required to get CPR certified!
  • Personal Trainers: By definition, working out involves strenuous exercise, so it's always a good idea for personal trainers to get certified in CPR.
  • Child Care Providers: Anyone providing childcare, whether a babysitter or a daycare worker, should learn CPR both for adults and children.
  • Waiters, Waitresses, & Servers: While CPR training may not jump to the top of the mind when considering applying for a server position, it could be a handy skill if someone suffers a cardiac attack in a restaurant.
  • Managers: Anyone in a management position is responsible for the well-being of their team, and getting CPR certified could help you save the life of a team member.
  • Yoga Teachers: While not a requirement, CPR training is a valuable skill to a yoga teacher, as yoga can often involve strenuous activity.

Take CPR Certification Courses in Orange County, CA

This list is by no means exclusive, and there are plenty of other professions that both require and benefit from CPR – but the point here is to show that even if your job doesn't require CPR certification, it's highly likely that you'd benefit from getting certified in CPR.

If you're interested in taking the next step to CPR certification, OC Safety makes it easy! Check out our schedule of classes to see when we're having a CPR certification course or reach out to us at our contact page for more info. We can't wait to hear from you!

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There are many types of seizures that can affect the entire brain or certain parts of it, causing a wide range of symptoms from loss of consciousness and minor twitching to violent convulsions. The type of seizure that most people are familiar with are known as tonic-clonic seizures, where the person falls down and begins shaking aggressively until the seizure subsides. This is one of the few types of seizures that are classified as major seizures, and knowing how to respond when you notice someone having a seizure can help save their life.

At OC Safety, we help people make a difference in their community, providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to be able to respond quickly and correctly in the event of emergency to protect those around them, whether they are family, friends, or strangers. To make sure you are ready to face the unexpected, below is a detailed guide on what you should do if you see someone having a seizure.

The Stages Of A Common Tonic-Clonic Seizure

The first step of reacting to an emergency is understanding the situation and what you’re dealing with. For the case the of tonic-clonic seizures, they are broken down into two main stages:

  • Tonic Stage - the first stage involves a sudden complete or partial loss of consciousness and tightening of the skeletal muscles, often resulting in the patient falling over. It is common for the patient to let out a load moan or other sounds as the air is being expelled from their lungs. This phase typically only lasts for a few seconds.
  • Clonic Stage - in the second stage of the seizure, the patient will start to experience convulsions caused by their muscles rapidly contracting and relaxing. The convulsions can vary in terms of their severity, ranging from small, exaggerated twitches to aggressive shaking and stiffened limbs or extremities. Other movement is common during the clonic stage, such as rolling over or stretching out the body and curling back up. Other signs that the patient has entered the clonic stage of the seizure are they eyes rolling back, closing their eyes, and the lips becoming a slight tint of blue.

A full tonic-clonic seizure typically lasts anywhere between 1 and 3 minutes, and is considered a medical emergency if it lasts for over 5 minutes. Recovering from a seizure can take anywhere between a few minutes to several hours, with common symptoms being drowsiness or lethargy.

What Not To Do When Someone Is Experiencing A Seizure

Many onlookers who witness someone having a seizure are often shocked by the rapid, violent convulsions of the clonic stage. For those that have the urge to help, a common assumption that they make is that the convulsions need to be stopped. This gave rose to the myth that you should try to restrain a seizure victim in an attempt to stop the convulsions. In reality, you should never restrain someone who is having a seizure, since it can increase their risk of injuring themselves and possibly injuring you.

The second myth stems from the fact that during a major seizure, the victim is often likely to bite down on their own tongue or the inside of their mouth, which can lead to bruising or soreness as they recover. Someone started spreading the myth that people having a seizure can potentially bite their own tongue off, so to prevent that, you should put something in their mouth during their convulsions. Do not put anything in a victim’s mouth during a seizure, since it can cause them to choke or block their airway when they start to recover.

Step By Step First Aid For Seizure Response

Now that you’re familiar with what happens during a seizure and what not to do, the steps for how to properly care for someone who is experiencing a seizure is rather simple. The steps for responding to a victim having a major seizure are:

  1. Call for medical help immediately
  2. Usher bystanders & onlookers away to create space around the victim
  3. Clear the area of any potential hazards that could injure the victim
  4. Protect the victim’s head
  5. Wait until the seizure subsides
  6. Once the seizure is finished, move the victim so they are laying on their side
  7. Ensure that they are breathing and there are no obstructions in their airway
  8. If the victim stops breathing, immediately begin CPR and call for a defibrillator
  9. Let the victim recover at their own pace. Do not panic or ask rapid questions that could cause the victim stress.

The proper way of helping a seizure victim is to let the seizure run its course, while doing your best to create a safer environment for the victim and ensuring that they can breathe after the seizure has subsided.

Contact OC Safety & Get Prepared!

If you want to be ready to handle the unexpected, contact us at OC Safety or schedule a safety certification course with us. We offer professional on-site safety training and certification programs for CPR, first aid, basic life support (BLS), and more, so you can have the tools and skill that you need to respond to any emergency. If you have questions about the classes that we offer, or about what to do when you see someone having a seizure, just reach out to us and we’ll be happy to provide you with the information you need.

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Busting Myths About Blood Borne Pathogens

Busting Myths About Blood Borne PathogensAt OC Safety, our mission is to create a safer world by providing the high-quality safety training courses that first responders, medical professionals, and other workers in dangerous environments need to protect and save lives. While many workplace dangers are clear and obvious, there are many hazards that aren't so easy to spot upon first glance. Blood borne pathogens are an example of these dangers. BBPs include conditions like HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 & 2, and many more viruses and microorganisms. To help clarify the dangers of and best practices for avoiding blood borne pathogens (BBPs), we wanted to dispel a few common myths about blood borne pathogens.

Top Myths About Blood Borne Pathogens

BBPs are dangerous: though invisible, exposure to even a minuscule amount of blood can cause infection transmission. However there are many myths about BBPs. Here are a few blood borne pathogen myths we can put to rest for good:

  • Myth: Vaccinations Guarantee Protection. While vaccinations do help to prevent infection from a pathogen or illness, they aren't 100% effective and don't guarantee your safety if you're exposed to a BBP. Even if you've received all standard vaccines, you should still seek treatment after being exposed to blood.
  • Myth: There's No Way to Prevent Infection After Exposure. While the best option is always to prevent exposure, there are still steps you can take if you've been exposed to blood. Many pathogens can be prevented retroactively after an exposure so long as you seek immediate treatment.
  • Myth: Viruses Stop Being Contagious When Exposed to Oxygen. While many viruses break down when exposed to air outside the body, there are a host of environmental processes that can delay or prevent this process. Many viruses can even lie dormant outside of a host for years, remaining dangerous long after exiting a host.

The Importance of OSHA Blood Borne Pathogen Certification

We're glad to put an end to these BBP myths, but unfortunately, there's much more misinformation about BBPs and proper BBP protocol. Thankfully, OC Safety offers a Blood Borne Pathogen Certification Class that provides comprehensive training on how to handle blood safely, how to minimize or eliminate the risk of exposure to BBPs, and what to do in case of exposure. For anyone that risks coming into contact with human blood on a regular basis, be they a nurse, paramedic, firefighter, or even tattoo artist, Blood Borne Pathogen Certification is vital to preventing BBP exposure and staying healthy.

Contact Orange County Safety Training Course Experts

Whether you yourself work in an environment with a risk for BBP exposure or you manage employees who are at risk, Blood Borne Pathogen Certification is vital. At OC Safety, we're proud to offer a comprehensive Blood Borne Pathogen Certification course that's fully compliant with all OSHA and regulatory standards. Get the protection that you and your team need: contact OC Safety today to sign up for safety classes for yourself and your organization!

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