3 Steps to Take When Someone Is Having a Stroke
Amber Umbreit, Hospital Director of Nursing on 09/07/2017
Did you know every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke? Every 40 seconds. Given these statistics, it is likely that you or someone you love will be affected by this condition at some point in time. While this sounds grim, it is important to know that prompt medical treatment may not only save the life of a stroke victim but may also minimize the damage a stroke can cause. And we are proud to announce that Southwest Healthcare Services has recently been awarded an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital Designation from the North Dakota Department of Health.
Because a stroke is a serious medical condition, the healthcare team at Southwest Healthcare Services would like to share some very important Dos and Don’ts.
3 Steps to Take When Someone Is Having a Stroke:
1. If you do nothing else, DO act quickly to call 911 if you even suspect someone might be having a stroke.
The most important thing you have to do is recognize the symptoms. Not sure what they are?
The National Stroke Association reminds us to think FAST:
F=Facial droop or numbness on one side: Ask them to smile. Is it uneven?
A=Arm weakness or numbness on one side.
S=Speech: Have them say a simple sentence like “The sky is blue.” Does it sound slurred or not make sense?
T=Time: if you notice any symptoms, immediately call 911 and say “I think this is a stroke.”
Other symptoms that might occur include:
• Sudden confusion or trouble understanding speech
• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
• Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Even if these symptoms only last for a short time, don’t delay medical treatment.
2. DO note the time you first see the symptoms. This is important information our medical team needs to know.
3. DO stay with the person and offer reassurance that help is on the way.
3 Things NOT To Do When
1. Do NOT let the person go to sleep or talk you out of calling 911.
Many stroke survivors have reported they suddenly felt very sleepy when the stroke first happened. Some even reported taking a nap to try to feel better before getting help. Remember every second count.
2. Do NOT give them medication, food, or drink.
Some strokes are caused by a ruptured blood vessel rather than a clot, so taking aspirin or medication that thins your blood could be dangerous. Strokes can also affect the ability to swallow and may cause choking.
3. Do NOT drive the person to the hospital.
This might seem like a good idea, but emergency responders can start treatment for that person on the way to the hospital. Additionally, it is possible that the medical condition could worsen and require immediate life-saving measures. The best action to take is to call 911.