Heart Care is Important During COVID!


Listen in as Winnie Walsh, the development director of social events for the American Heart Association, shares tips on how to keep your heart healthy during the pandemic and how to get involved in heart events in West Michigan.



00:06 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home. Welcome in. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. From finance to fitness, we have it all, and I’ll tell you what, the last few months have been a little bit difficult, a little bit? How about a lot difficult in the sense of really trying to keep our health at the top of the forefront with COVID. Joining us today is Winnie Walsh, and she is the development director of social events for the American Heart Association, one of our wonderful partners here at Consumers. Winnie, thank you so much for being with us today.

00:36 Winnie Walsh: Yeah. Thank you, Lynne. I’m very excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

00:41 LJJ: As we listen to what’s going on in our country and in the state of Michigan and the ups and downs of tracking COVID, I think if you look back to March, you wouldn’t ever think that, “Wow, some elective surgeries, the things that are going on inside our bodies with our heart is going to be something that could be put on the back burner.” But really, have you found, Winnie, in the American Heart Association that it’s just kind of like, “Look at, we need more information out there, even more so now?”

01:17 WW: Yes, absolutely. So, there are definitely cases where some elective surgeries are being put, as you said, on the back burner right now, but with those conversations, it’s definitely one that you want to have with your physician. And, of course, if it’s a matter of something that needs to be taken care of right away, you can work with your physician on that. And then one of the things that we have also seen regarding hospitals and healthcare systems are not only are people not going in for those elective surgeries and different types of procedures like that, but people are actually afraid to go to the emergency room right now. So, with the Heart Association, we’re really advocating for not hesitating if you need something medically taken care of; if something is wrong, do not be afraid to call your physician. Do not be afraid to go to the emergency room. They can still help you, and our healthcare systems are safe. And they will let you know what they can help you with right now and if there’s something that you can have postponed to create some more safety in this time of COVID.

02:24 LJJ: Those are absolute critical points for everybody to remember. Winnie, when you’re looking at the changes that have happened or the fears that also are there regarding health care… Let’s take an example of heart failure and CPR. You automatically start thinking, “Well, wait a minute, I’m wearing masks. And how do I do CPR if I’m supposed to say six feet away?” You know you joke, but seriously, people really have to be wondering, “What am I supposed to do and how can I help?”

02:55 WW: Absolutely, that is a great point to bring up, Lynne, and we have gotten many questions about that, whether it’s from our individual supporters or from our healthcare partners. One of the things that the American Heart Association is really advocating for right now is what we call hands-only CPR. There’s absolutely fear right now with bystanders being afraid to go in with COVID and do that traditional CPR, but we have gone through and established what we call our hands-only CPR guidelines that allow you to do this safely. Just as an example, if you’re walking through the process, say you do see someone collapse and they are in need of CPR, you still can safely administer it. What we recommend is only doing the chest compressions. Doing them at that beat to the song, “Staying Alive”, that we all know so well from different CPR trainings and…

03:54 LJJ: Let me hear it, Winnie.

03:55 WW: You want me to sing it? Staying alive, staying alive, mm, mm, mm…

04:00 LJJ: Duh, duh, duh.

04:01 WW: Yeah, just like that. So doing chest compressions to the beat of that song, and then also wearing a mask yourself, and either putting a mask on the person who is having an episode or putting a light tee-shirt over them. It’s important to remember that that does not restrict your breathing, and if you have a mask and they have a mask, your safety chances and the measures of contracting COVID are very low. And CPR, oh my goodness, it is just so important; it raises your chances of survival of having a cardiac event exponentially. So it’s definitely, if you’re doing that hands-only where you’re wearing a mask, you are covering the mouth of the person who’s having an event, and doing just those chest compressions to the beat of that wonderful song that you and I just sang. It can help save lives.

04:58 LJJ: I think The Voice is calling, Winnie; The Voice is calling. You did such a good job.

05:01 WW: I wish. I’ll wait for that; when I see the call come through, I’ll let you know, Lynne.

05:06 LJJ: Thank you. So when you’re looking at CPR, and COVID is a vascular issue, correct? From what I’ve read, and I’m no expert, obviously, and you are with the American Heart Association. There are people now who are looking at it and saying, “This is vascular. It’s not just about your lungs.”

05:30 WW: Yes, absolutely. So with COVID with all the pressure that it puts on your respiratory system, it can really negatively affect your heart as it’s over-working it. In a lot of cases, not all of them, but in a large number of them, they’re actually administering blood thinners to patients that are admitted to the hospital with COVID symptoms to help prevent a cardiac event if one were to happen because of the heavy toll it does take on your cardiovascular system.

05:58 LJJ: Wow. So what can people do now, Winnie, what is it that… Where is your website? Do you have instructions on hands-only CPR?

06:09 WW: Yes, so if you go to our website, you can find CPR, hands-only CPR instructions and videos at CPR.heart.org, and then as well for other things you can do to stay healthy and really help your cardiovascular and neurological systems during this physical time is eating healthy, staying active, getting outside if you can, and really just taking care of yourself. This is hard on everyone, so finding those ways to make sure you are happy and healthy to the best of your ability at this time are crucial. And our website, again, heart.org or cprheart.org depending on the resources you’re looking for, can really help you through that.

06:56 LJJ: And, Winnie, how can we help in the sense of volunteering. COVID is tough. People aren’t going to fundraisers in person, but are there ways that people can help out?

07:08 WW: Yes, absolutely. So coming up in February, we do have our annual Go Red for Women luncheon, which will be virtual this year, which is very exciting. Consumers Credit Union is a wonderful sponsor of our Go Red for Women luncheon in Grand Rapids. So we are very excited to have that again this year. If you go to heart.org and look at the West Michigan page, you will be able to register for the event and look at details there. And then as well for other opportunities for involvement, volunteering, donating, just go ahead and go to that heart.org, West Michigan page, and you’ll be able to find all of that information there.

07:50 LJJ: That is awesome. Winnie, thank you so much for taking the time today. It really is a pleasure working with you side by side to help people really understand the importance of heart disease and how you can make a difference.

08:03 WW: Yes, thank you, Lynne, I appreciate being on today, and I want everyone to stay happy, safe and healthy.

08:10 LJJ: And we want you to get on The Voice, so thank you, Winnie.

08:14 WW: Thank you.

08:16 LJJ: Let’s wrap it up, Duh, duh, duh, duh, staying alive, staying alive. Hey, I’m keeping my day job. Winnie, thank you so much. American Heart Association, if anybody has any questions, just head to heart.org. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson. Thanks so much for being with us today. Money, I’m Home. From finance to fitness. If you have a guest that you’d like us to talk with, please send them our way. Thank you, Jake Esselink for your production skills as always. Everyone, have a wonderful week.



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