February is Heart Month: Do you know CPR?

On January 2, 2023, Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills football team collapsed on the field after being hit in the chest while making a tackle. He experienced a cardiac arrest. Hamlin immediately lost his heart function, breathing, and consciousness and required cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

While recovering from his cardiac arrest, Hamlin challenged everyone to learn CPR.

heart health image

Have you taken the challenge?

If giving CPR intimidates you, consider being armed with a simple 2-step program you can follow. If someone is in cardiac arrest, call 911 on speaker phone and begin giving chest compressions. For the compressions, you simply place one hand on top of the other in the center of the chest and push down hard and fast. You continue this until the person begins to arouse or breathe. Watch a one minute video clip from the American Heart Association to learn more here.

If there is an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) available, as there are in many community buildings. it can be used instead of CPR. The device can increase the victim’s chance of survival by restoring the heart rhythm.

When the machine is turned on it gives easy-to-follow directions, prompting the user to put one pad on the victim’s upper right chest below the collarbone and the other pad on the lower left side.

If you take CPR training you can practice using an AED. That will better help you to respond in an actual emergency situation. Being familiar with an AED may decrease your reaction time in an emergency.

While we’re on the subject of Heart Month, let’s consider some heart-healthy tips to improve your health.

  • Monitor your numbers. Be aware of ideal numbers such as triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
  • Keep your stress level down.
  • Be sure to get outdoors. A walk in the woods can lower stress.
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.
  • If you drink alcohol, do so only moderately or consider stopping.
  • Look up some heart healthy meals and create those for dinner.
  • Listen to what doctors are always telling us: drink plenty of water, exercise, consume more fruits and vegetables, and be sure to get enough quality sleep.
  • And accept Hamlin’s challenge and learn CPR.

Consider attending these upcoming heart-healthy events:

WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital is hosting a Love your Heart Symposium on Feb 15. This free event will be held in Community Rooms B and C at the hospital.

At 4:00 PM Lydia Danso, CRNP will present “Understanding Heart Failure.” Attend this to learn about types of heart failure and to see if you’re at risk.

At 5:00 PM, Momina Master, MD will discuss “Risk Factors for Heart Disease.” Participants will learn how to lower their risk of heart disease. Free blood pressure screenings will be available.

Join WellSpan Health’s free 12-week wellness program called Winter Streak. Participants increase their physical activity and learn how to lower their stress. Learn more at winterstreak.org.

Consider donating to Upper Adams School children’s Kids Heart Challenge in February. The American Heart Association uses the program to raise funds for kids with special hearts. The fundraising program also promotes student health. In Physical Education class, the children learn how to jump rope using various techniques. They also learn about heart-healthy habits.

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Amy is a freelance writer and reporter. She, her husband, and her two children reside in Adams County. She works in early childhood education and occupational therapy, and volunteers with local organizations.

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