Save Yourself in Health Emergencies

Medical emergencies like heart attacks or choking are scary enough, but if there were no one around to help you, would you know what to do to survive?

Luckily, Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," knows the tips and tricks that could save your life when you find yourself all alone and in danger.

If you're in an emergency, in almost every case Oz advises calling 911 immediately and before attempting these techniques, even if you can't talk. Somtimes, especially if you have a land line, leaving the line open will allow rescuers to track your location.

Choking: The Self-Heimlich

Many people know that the Heimlich maneuver can save a choking victim, but what if no one else is there to wrap their arms around your midsection and help force out whatever is blocking your airway?

Well then, Oz said, you just have to do it yourself.

Start by making a fist and place the thumb below your rib cage and above your navel, right in the soft upside-down "v" of your ribs, Dr. Oz said. Then, grasp your fist with the other hand and press into that area with a quick upward movement.

If that doesn't work, you can also use your furniture to your advantage. You can lean over a chair, table or railing and thrust your upper belly area against the edge.

If you can breathe at all, however, you don't need to do the Heimlich, Oz said.

Severe Burns: Cool It, But No Ice

There are three types of burns to consider, Oz said. First degree burns are the least serious, where only the outer layer of skin is burned. Such a burn will usually be red with swelling and pain, he said.

Second degree burns occur when the second layer of skin is also burned. In this case the victim gets blisters and the skin can get intensely red and splotchy, Oz said.

The most severe burns are classified as third degree burns when they burn all the layers of skin, possibly even reaching, fat, muscle and bone. The most serious burns are painless because the nerves are burned and there's likely permanent tissue damage.

The best thing to do with a burn, Oz said, is to cool it off by running cold water over it or applying a cold compress, but do not put ice on the burn.

Aspirin is very important to help control swelling.

You should also cover the burn with a sterile gauze bandage, but don't use fluffy cotton, which could irritate the skin. Wrap the gauze loosely to avoid putting pressure on the burned skin. Also, do not pop any blisters that form.

Minor burns usually heal without further treatment.

Heart Problems: Chew Your Aspirin, Cough

There are a few warning signs for heart problems, Oz said, including crushing chest pain, pain in your left arm, shortness of breath, nausea and profuse sweating.

If these are happening, you should call 911. Next chew an aspirin so that it gets into your blood stream faster. Fair warning, Oz said: It may taste awful.

The aspirin will thin your blood, sometimes stopping a heart attack in its tracks. Then you should lie down, allowing your heart to rest as much as possible.

If you feel yourself passing out, cough. Coughing squeezes your chest to make the blood flow.

Severe Bleeding: No Tourniquet, Direct Pressure Instead

Don't do what Hollywood movies do and tourniquet wounds, Oz said. That can kill off everything that's below the wound.

Rather, after calling 911, apply direct pressure to the cut. If blood seeps through the material being held on the wound, do not remove it. Instead, put another cloth over the first one.

You want to keep the pressure up. Don't remove the material to look at the wound. Also, try to keep the wound elevated above the heart so that gravity helps you slow the bleeding.

If you have it, apply a cold compress of some kind, Oz said. The cold will help constrict your blood vessels and slow the bleeding. Don't put ice directly on the wound, as frostbite could become a danger. To make a compress, simply wrap a hand towel around some ice.

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