When 51-year-old James (Tony Soprano) Gandolfini suffered a heart attack while visiting Rome last summer, his chances for survival might have increased if it had happened on a movie set, where there’s often a medical staff trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
But unfortunately for millions of people around the globe, and more than 360,000 North Americans every year who have “out-of-hospital cardiac arrests” (or OHCA’s), your average bystander isn’t prepared to administer CPR, and the chances of pulling through an on-the-street heart attack are not great. In Detroit, OHCA’s have a 0.2 percent survival rate. In Seattle (the U.S. gold standard), survival rates still hit only 16 percent.
What improves survival rates, according to a Danish study, is a public education push that teaches how and when to do CPR, along with smarter medical-response procedures. Danish efforts have elevated their OHCA survival rate to an impressive 44 percent.
For you to help improve OHCA survival rates in North America, here are CPR basics:
First, call 911; then start chest compressions. No need to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It turns out hands-only CPR is the most effective technique for saving lives in real-life OHCA situations.
Place one flat hand over the center of the victim’s chest and your other open hand on top of that. Press down hard (chest should depress 2 inches) for 100 beats a minute. If someone’s available, have that person count with you.
Stick with it until help arrives, and ask someone else to relieve you if you get worn out.
In 17th-century England, a pound of ginger could be traded for one healthy sheep! In fact, this gnarled, tangy spice has been valued as a seasoning and a medicine for thousands of years — it has even been Dr. Oz’s Herb of the Month. Currently, scientists are investigating whether it can help prevent colon and ovarian cancer. Plus it’s a must-have as you head into cold and flu season. Its other powers include:
Calming nausea. As a tea or cooked into a congee (a therapeutic rice porridge) it can ease morning sickness, motion sickness and sluggish digestion. To make the tea: Cut 2 inches of cleaned and peeled ginger root into small pieces or thin slices; put in a pan with a few cups of water; boil for at least 10 minutes. Stir in lemon, mint or lime juice — add 1 teaspoon of honey if your taste buds require it!
Soothing sore joints and muscles. Ginger contains anti-inflammatories called gingerols that can ease the discomfort of osteo- or rheumatoid arthritis, sore muscles and even headaches. You can drink it as a tea or grate the root, wrap it in cheesecloth, place in hot water for 30 seconds, and when cool enough, apply directly to your achy areas for 20 minutes.
Keeping your immune system strong. For a sore throat, sniffles or the flu, try a powdered ginger supplement; ask your doctor about taking 250 milligrams daily (it’s not for anyone on blood thinners). The max, according to the American Cancer Society, is 5 grams a day.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.