We can’t think of a perfect time to talk about stroke, its signs and symptoms, and how stroke first aid can save lives. Initiated by the Stroke Foundation, National Stroke Week 2020 aims to encourage Australians to learn the different signs of stroke and be a Hero FAST!
What is a stroke?
Based on First Aid Course in SydneyStroke is the second biggest killer after coronary heart disease and the leading cause of disability in Australians. Statistics show that 1 in 6 people in Australia will have a stroke in their lifetime.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the part of the brain is blocked by a blood clot or bleeding, preventing brain tissue from receiving the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly. During a stroke, brain cells begin to die within minutes making a Stroke a medical emergency where prompt and effective treatment is crucial.
When determining if a person is having a stroke, think QUICKLY
This acronym reiterates the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke and calling emergency services. Identifying stroke symptoms and responding quickly helps ensure an ambulance arrives early and professional help is available to treat a potential stroke.
- F stands for Face. Check for sagging or numbness on one side of the face compared to the other. Ask the person suspected of having a stroke to smile to get a better look at the drooping eyelid.
- A stands for Arms. See if the person can lift both of his or her arms or if one arm is numb or weaker than the other. Ask them to lift their arms to count ten. If an arm falls, this could be a sign of a stroke.
- S stands for speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Watch for strange voices or slurs.
- T stands for Time. In the event of a possible stroke, timing is crucial. If you see any symptoms, do FAST call 000 (Australian Emergency Services Number) immediately.
Other stroke symptoms may include, or be a combination of:
Dizziness or inability to stand without help
● Numbness or paralysis of the face, arms, or legs
Blurred or reduced vision in one or both eyes
● Severe headache or sudden onset of headache patterns
Stroke First Aid
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, check to see if the person is awake
● If the person is responding (consciously), keep them upright or sitting. If the person is unable or too weak to support their head, place them in a sideways position with the head slightly raised and supported.
Do not give them food or liquids and, if possible, loosen restrictive clothing that makes breathing difficult.
● If the person is unconscious, check their breathing pattern and see if they have trouble breathing. If there are no signs of breathing, start CPR immediately. If unsure about how to perform CPR and use an AED, sign up for a first aid course now.
Think FAST Act Faster
A stroke can happen to anyone at any age, with a more than 80% chance of having at least one of the FAST signs of a stroke. Recognizing how to respond to stroke symptoms quickly is critical to achieving appropriate treatment for someone who has had a stroke. So we urge everyone to join and participate in National Stroke Week, and let’s all think and act FAST when it comes to stroke emergency.