31 August – 6 September
It’s National Stroke Awareness Week, and we cannot think of a more perfect time to talk about Stroke, its signs and symptoms, and Stroke first aid that could help save lives.
Initiated by the Stroke Foundation, National Stroke Week 2020 aims to encourage Australians to learn the different signs of Stroke and become F.A.S.T. Heroes!
What is a Stroke?
Stroke is the second biggest killer after coronary heart disease and a leading cause of disability among Australians. Statistics show that 1 in every 6 people in Australia will experience a stroke in their lifetime.
A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain is blocked by either a clot or a bleed, preventing the brain tissue from getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function well. During a stroke, the brain cells begin to die in minutes, making Stroke a medical emergency where prompt and efficient treatment is crucial.
When determining whether a person is having a stroke, think F.A.S.T.
The said acronym reiterates the importance of recognising the stroke signs and symptoms and calling emergency services. Identifying stroke symptoms and reacting quickly helps ensure the early arrival of an ambulance and professional help for potential stroke treatment.
- F stands for face. Check if there is any drooping or numbness on one side of the face versus the other. Ask the suspected casualty to smile to see if the drooping is more apparent.
- A stands for arms. See if the person can lift both of their arms, or one arm is more numb or weaker than the other. Ask them to lift their arms for a count of ten. If one arm falls, this could be a sign of a stroke.
- S stands for speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Notice if there are strange or slurred speech.
- T stands for time. In the event of a possible stroke, time is critical. If you see any symptoms, act FAST call 000 (Australian Emergency Services Number) right away.
Other stroke symptoms may include, or a combination of:
- Dizziness or unable to stand without assistance
- Numbness or paralysis of the face, arm, or leg
- Blurred or decreased in vision in one or both eyes
- Severe headache or abrupt onset in headache patterns
Stroke First Aid
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, check if the person is conscious or unconscious.
- If the person is responding (conscious), keep them upright or seated. If the person is unable or too weak to support their head, lay them on a sideward position with the head slightly raised and supported.
Do not give them any food or liquid and if possible, loosen any restrictive clothing that is causing breathing difficulties.
- If the person is unconscious, check their breathing pattern and see if they are having difficulty breathing. If there are no signs of breathing at all, start C.P.R. immediately. If you are unsure how to perform C.P.R. and use an AED, book a first aid course now.
Think F.A.S.T. Act FASTER
Stroke can happen to anyone of any age, with more than 80 per cent chance of showing at least one of the F.A.S.T. signs of a stroke. Identifying and reacting to stroke symptoms quickly is crucial to achieving proper treatment for a person experiencing a stroke. Therefore, we urge everyone to participate and get involved in National Stroke Week and let us all think and act FAST during a stroke emergency.
To learn more about National Stroke Week, visit strokefoundation.org.au. If interested in a Stroke First Aid Course, give us a call at 08 8382 4677 or book now.