We can’t imagine a perfect time to talk about stroke, its signs and symptoms, and stroke first aid that could save lives. National Stroke Week 2020, initiated by the Stroke Foundation, aims to encourage Australians to learn the different signs of stroke and become FAST Heroes!
What is a stroke
According to The Sydney First Aid Course, Stroke is the second leading killer after coronary artery disease and a leading cause of disability among Australians. Statistics show that one in six Australians will suffer a stroke at some point in their life.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked by either a clot or bleeding, preventing the brain tissue from receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. During a stroke, brain cells begin to die within minutes, making the stroke a medical emergency where quick and efficient treatment is critical.
In determining if a person has had a stroke, think FAST
The aforementioned acronym emphasizes the importance of identifying the signs and symptoms of a stroke and calling emergency services. Recognizing stroke symptoms and reacting quickly will help ensure the early arrival of an ambulance and professional help with possible stroke treatment.
- F stands for face. Check to see if one side of the face is drooping or numb compared to the other. Ask the suspect to smile to see the drooping more clearly.
- A stands for weapons. See if the person can raise both arms or if one arm is numb or weaker than the other. Invite them to raise their arms to count to ten. If an arm falls it could be a sign of a stroke.
- S stands for language. Invite the person to repeat a simple sentence. Look out for strange or slurred language.
- T stands for time. If you have a possible stroke, time is of the essence. If you experience any of the symptoms, call 000 (Australian Emergency Service Number) immediately.
Other stroke symptoms can be or a combination of:
● Dizziness or inability to stand up unaided
● Numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg
● Blurred or decreased vision in one or both eyes
● Severe headache or sudden onset of headache patterns
First aid after a stroke
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, check to see if the person is conscious or unconscious
● If the person is reacting (conscious), hold them upright or seated. If the person is unable or weak to support their own head, place them in a sideways position with their head slightly raised and supported.
Do not give them food or fluids and, if possible, loosen any restrictive clothing that is causing breathing difficulties.
● If the person is passed out, check their breathing pattern and see if they have difficulty breathing. If there are no signs of breath at all, begin CPR immediately. If you are unsure how to perform CPR and use the AED, book a first aid course now.
Think FAST Acting FASTER
Stroke can affect anyone, any age, with a greater than 80 percent chance of showing at least one of the FAST signs of stroke. Having a quick response to stroke symptoms is critical to properly treating a person who is experiencing a stroke. So we urge everyone to attend and get involved in National Stroke Week and let’s all think and act FAST during a stroke
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