Even during a pandemic, like COVID-19, other emergencies do not just disappear. Heart attacks and strokes require immediate medical attention. The American Heart Association recommends calling 911 and going to the hospital quickly if you or a loved one experiences symptoms is your best chance of survival, and continues to be a safe choice.
Of concern is that hospitals throughout the United States report particularly patients treated for strokes and heart attacks. Medical organizations worry that many people might not call 911 or go to the hospital because they are afraid of contracting COVID-19.
However, calling 911 is the best chance of survival if you have a heart attack or stroke, the American Heart Association stresses.
The first respondent was trained to help patients with all emergency medical conditions, even in the current pandemic. Immediate treatment of a heart attack or stroke is very important, especially because data shows that people with cardiovascular disease are more likely to have serious complications from a virus – even death.
Leaders of medical organizations, including the American Heart Association, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American Academy of Neurology, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Heart Failure Society of America, the Heart Rhythm Society, and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions have issued joint statements to remind everyone America, but especially those who are at high risk for heart attacks and strokes, such as those suffering from cardiovascular disease, that it is safe for everyone to call 911, and that it is safe for anyone to go to the hospital.
The hospital follows protocols to cleanse, maintain social distance, and isolate COVID-19 patients from them in the hospital for other reasons including treatment for heart attacks or strokes.
The American Heart Association and other medical organizations also advise individuals with existing cardiovascular conditions to use telehealth visits to continue to manage risk factors and take medications as prescribed.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include:
* Chest discomfort.
* Discomfort in other areas of the body, such as arms, back, neck, or jaw
* Shortness of breath, and cold sweat, nausea, or dizziness.
Signs of stroke can include:
* Face drooping.
* Weakness of the arm.
* Slurred speech, or other sudden physical difficulties.
For information about COVID-19, cardiovascular health, and signs of a heart attack, stroke, or cardiac arrest, visit heart.org.
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