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When the chatter of a large holiday party suddenly goes quiet, you know something is not right.

December 22, 2011

This happened at a party a friend of mine attended awhile back. Someone fainted, and everyone around him was pretty shaken. EMS was called and fortunately they determined right away that the patient was fine. He’d skipped dinner, but not cocktails, and when the room got a bit overheated, down he went.

Before the EMS team finished up and left, one of them said, “I can’t believe it wasn’t a heart attack.” She followed this comment with something about “heart attack season.” Ask any EMS personnel — there’s a significant spike in heart attacks around Christmas and New Years.

The specific causes of these attacks aren’t known but can be easily guessed. Stress probably plays a role, as does overindulging in rich foods, alcohol, and other temptations of the season. Exercise regimens are put on hold, and we tend to get less sleep. Freezing temperatures don’t help, although warmer states also report an uptick in holiday heart attacks.

Whatever the reason, this season of joy can quickly turn dangerous. But lives can be saved with some quick CPR. And the good news is that you can administer CPR without training, and you don’t have to give mouth-to-mouth.

In fact, it’s better if you don’t…

Two separate studies show that when a heart attack victim is immediately given CPR by a bystander, survival chances actually increase when chest compression is given alone, without mouth-to-mouth breathing.

And that’s a relief for anyone trying to help revive someone having a heart attack. Even those who are trained in CPR find mouth-to-mouth breathing difficult if they’ve never done it or do it infrequently.

If you’re suddenly called on to do chest compression, here’s how it’s done:
* If someone else is nearby, have them call 911 immediately
* Position the victim on his back
* Place the heal of one hand on his breastbone
* Place the heal of your other hand on top of your first hand
* Position yourself directly over your hands, arms stiff
* Each compression should press down about 2 inches into the chest

Most importantly, compressions need to be hard and fast — about 100 compressions per minute.

In fact, the American Heart Association actually recommends timing compressions to the beat of the Bee Gee’s song “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night fever. If you follow that pace, you should get in at least 100 compressions per minute.

Also, “stayin’ alive” is the perfect mindset when helping someone survive a heart attack — especially during the holidays.

For more info:  http://hsionline.com/

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