Heart attacks and strokes don’t wait for a convenient time to happen. They could strike at a campground or even out on the open highway. Everyone should know the early warning signs of heart attacks and strokes, and you should also know what steps to take if you aren’t at home or work.
Early Warning Signs of Heart Attacks
The mild to strong discomfort in the chest can come and go or linger for hours on end. It may radiate into the arms, back, neck, jaw and stomach. Shortness of breath is a cause for worry, and cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness should have you stopping to call for help. Women are more likely to experience the symptoms without the telltale chest pain, and they are also likely to have sleep disturbance, indigestion and anxiety.
Watching for Stroke
Your face, arm or leg may go numb or weak, and the feeling may be stronger one side. You may have trouble understanding people, speaking, seeing or walking. Dizziness and severe headaches are also common problems.
Calling for Help from the Campground
You know that every minute counts, so you have no problem calling 911. However, you need to be able to help them find you. When calling from your cell phone, they won’t automatically know where you are. When checking in at the campground, you will be given a lot number. Make sure you know that number. Tell the operator which site you are at, and try to give them basic directions to find you. After hanging up, call the office and alert them that the paramedics are coming in. Even if it is after-hours, they should have an emergency number you can call for them to let the ambulance in and give directions.
Actions on the Road
If you are out on the road when it happens, you cannot be behind the wheel. Pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible to trade drivers. Try to rest and remain comfortable while your partner drives to the next exit or rest station. Call 911 immediately, inform them of your symptoms, and tell them what highway you are on, the direction you are traveling in and what exit you are going to take.
The idea of having a stroke or heart attack while out camping is frightening, but it can happen. Don’t ignore the warning signs, and call for help if you suspect a serious problem. Know where you are, so you can give responders directions. Ignoring the symptoms won’t make them go away, and calling for help as soon as possible may just save your life.