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February is American Heart Month but it’s also my favorite time of year and always has been since I can remember! And to make this month even more meaningful I had a special gift delivered on Valentine’s Day – a baby boy! What a gift he is!  But each day should be a gift, especially during heart month.

Woman writing "Love You" in a journal. Letters and chocolate bar.

So, in honor of the love month, I do a few special things starting with writing love letters. I write love letters to each of my children reminding them of my love and how proud I am of their accomplishments. I send these letters through regular mail on purpose – no email allowed – so they can see my handwriting and feel connected to me. I also take time to send Valentines to friends, family and the elderly. 

Something special happens when writing: the act of sitting down to write causes me to slow down and think of those I love for a moment. Other good benefits of handwriting letters are:

  1. You feel more in touch with the person you are contacting.
  2. You get to take a moment out of your hectic schedule to just breathe and write.
  3. You get to practice your handwriting.
  4. You can use all your fun stationery supplies for a totally legitimate reason!

The American Heart Association agrees that we should do simple things each day for our hearts. Aside from writing letters, you might:

  • Count your blessings
  • Stretch
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Clean up clutter (start with just one drawer)
  • Take a walk
  • Draw hearts on post-it notes and stick on someone’s coffee mug

It’s the little things in life that add up and make a big difference. We can all choose to do a little something each day to improve our health and share joy of the gift of another day with the people we love.

Have a wonderful February!

XOXO

Shari

Written by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Licking County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

  1. American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/
  2. Abrahamsen, Shelley. (2019). The Art of Writing Letters (and why you should start today!) https://littlecoffeefox.com/art-writing-letters-start-today/The
  3. Brencher, Hannah. The World Needs More Love Letters.  http://www.moreloveletters.com/

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Could You Save A Life?

heartbeat-163709_1280Have you ever been in a situation where a teen or adult suddenly collapsed for no apparent reason? The leading cause of such a collapse is cardiac arrest which is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm. In these cases, the person has been breathing normally which means that there should be enough oxygen in the blood for the first several minutes. Every year, people in cardiac arrest die because bystanders, friends or family don’t know what to do and are afraid that they might hurt the person.
The chances for survival are nearly zero unless someone immediately takes action.

What would you do?

It is important to act quickly to keep blood pumping to the brain and heart which delivers oxygen to the lungs and blood. This can be accomplished by high-quality chest compressions until medical help arrives. This can be done by using CPR.

Many of us are aware of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Traditional CPR involves chest compressions and breathing into the mouth of the person needing help. Even those who had been trained in CPR were sometimes hesitant to help someone that they didn’t know.

In 2008, the American Heart Association recommended Hands-Only CPR which is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. Untrained individuals can use this to help save a person’s life until help arrives.

A national survey found that Americans who had not been trained in traditional CPR in the past five years would be more likely to perform Hands-Only CPR on a teen or adult who has collapsed suddenly. Performing Hands-Only CPR is easy to remember and effective.

So, what should you do if you see someone collapse or you come upon someone who is non-responsive?

1. Tap the person on the shoulder and shout “Are you okay?” At the same time, look for signs of breathing.
2. Call 911 or if someone else is there, yell for them to make the call.
3. Begin Chest Compressions.
4. DON’T STOP until help arrives.

To properly do chest compressions:
• Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest
• Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first and lace your fingers together
• Keep your arms straight and position your shoulders directly over your hands
• Push hard and fast – the beat of the Bee Gees’ disco classic, “Stayin’Alive” is the perfect rhythm!

There are still some situations where traditional CPR is recommended such as with infants, children, victims of drowning, drug overdoses, etc. But even in those cases, Hands-Only CPR will not harm the person. Any attempt at CPR is better than none!

How can you learn how to do Hands-Only CPR?

There are online tutorials at both the American Heart Association and American Red Cross sites:
http://go.osu.edu/heartorghandsonlycpr

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/hands-only-cpr.
So remember – any attempt at CPR is better than none! Take a few minutes to watch the videos on the above sites and if the situation should ever arise, you may be the one to save a life!
Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

Sources: The American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/prepare/hands-only-cpr.
The American Heart Association http://go.osu.edu/heartorghandsonlycpr

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