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Knowledge can be life saving during health emergencies

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Rochester: Knowledge can be life saving during health emergencies
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In case of a health emergency, not everyone knows how to respond. In this edition of Wellness, YNN's Jill Urban offers some tips to take action during an emergency.

Certain urgent conditions can be minimized by taking action before you get to the hospital, despite the need for proper medical attention.

"There are certain medical emergencies that we try to educate people that this is something you should know about and you should absolutely take these steps so that you can prevent things from deteriorating and getting worse," explained Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist.

If you think you may be having a heart attack, take aspirin after you contact 911.

Dr. Narula said, "Before you get to the hospital one quick thing you can do is take an aspirin. We know aspirin starts to work right away at preventing those blood clots that are forming in the arteries that supply blood to the heart from becoming bigger and expanding. So you can actually help save your heart muscle by taking an aspirin as quickly as possible."

In the case of a stroke, there is not much you can do to slow it down, but it's important to know time is critical.

"It’s very important to get to the hospital immediately, call 911 or have someone call for you. At this point its important to note any symptoms and time of onset," said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine physician. "It's important because we have a certain medicine we can give you within three hours. There is a window that can help people having a stroke and its called TPA."

Another common emergency is an allergic reaction. If you think you are having a reaction, it is recommended you take Benadryl or diphenhydramine immediately. It is a histamine blocker and can slow the reaction down. Also, if you have had reactions before, you should always carry an epi-pen with you. It could save your life and give you time to get to a hospital.

If you overdose or ingest something dangerous, Dr. Glatter says do not try to induce vomiting.

He said, "In the past, physicians used to recommend taking syrup of epicac, this would induce vomiting. However, they now realize this is very dangerous and can cause aspiration. Meaning as you vomit this could go into your lungs."

Knowledge is power and hopefully knowing what to do or what not to do can help you think clearly during a critical moment, and ultimately help save your life.

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