First aid tips – how to spot the symptoms of a heart attack

A heart attack is one of the most serious and life-threatening of all medical emergencies, and this is partly because cardiac arrest can come on so quickly without any prior warning at all.

If you have undergone first aid training, you will be able to spot the signs of a heart attack and act fast to get the person the emergency medical attention they need. If you haven’t or are due to renew your skills with a first aid refresher course, here are the key symptoms to look out for:

• Chest pain –the person may clutch the centre of their chest or complain of pressure, a squeezing sensation or tightness in the chest
• Shortness of breath and light-headedness
• Pain in the arms and other parts of the body – a person having a heart attack will commonly complain of the pain in the left arm, but it can move from the chest to both arms as well as the neck, jaw, abdomen and back
• Feeling sick or actually vomiting
• Anxiety and distress
• Coughing and wheezing

If you spot any of these symptoms accompanied by severe pain in the chest, you need to call for an ambulance right away.

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