With February being American Heart Month, there is a new campaign, “Don’t Die of Doubt”, which emphasizes symptoms of heart attack and stroke, need to access care by calling 9-1-1 even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the American Heart Association, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase and strain emergency departments nationwide, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) suggests ER visits in April were down 42 percent compared to the same period last year.
Yet, heart attacks and strokes haven’t stopped for COVID-19.
To combat this alarming trend, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, University Health, and UT Health San Antonio, joined the AHA’s new public awareness campaign called, “Don’t Die of Doubt,” that urges people to call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical care at the hospital if experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or a stroke.
The campaign emphasizes that the best chance to survive an acute event, like a heart attack or stroke, is to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance to the hospital where they’re fully prepared to treat you safely. Hospitals are still the safest place to be during a medical emergency. There is a critical need to reach everyone across the country with reassurance.
People can receive safe care for heart attack or stroke symptoms, and other urgent medical needs, in hospitals.
When it comes to surviving a heart attack or a stroke, seconds count, and so doubting symptoms, and thereby delaying care, may prove deadly.
Emergency responders, as well as doctors and nurses at the hospital, know what to do even when things seem chaotic and emergency departments have made plans behind the scenes including screening for COVID-19 symptoms, treating coronavirus patients in separate areas and increased cleaning protocols to keep patients and workers safe.
Warning signs of a heart attack, courtesy of Heart.org
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Use the letters in “F.A.S.T.” to spot stroke signs and know when to call 9-1-1, courtesy of stroke.org
- Face dropping. Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven or lopsided?
- Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech. Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.
- Time to call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
To learn more about the “Don’t Die of Doubt” campaign and community resources, click or tap here.
KSAT Community operates in partnership with University Health, Energy Transfer and Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union.