How to Act FAST When Someone is Having a Stroke

By Lifeline Hospital, Health & Wellness Partner


Lifeline Hospital
Health & Wellness Partner

February 05, 2019

Seeing someone you love have a stroke is scary! The first thing you’d probably want to do is scream and call for help in a mess of panic. But the best thing you could do is keep calm and save their life.

A stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain is greatly reduced or cut off completely. This usually occurs from a blood clot or a vessel bursting. As you can imagine, you start to lose brain cells at this point and the sooner you can get help, the better your chances of avoiding serious lasting problems!

Recognize the Symptoms

There are some cases where a stroke will gradually develop so keep an eye out for these warning signs.

  • Weakness/numbness in the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side.
  • Trouble understanding people/feeling confused
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Blurred vision or trouble focusing
  • Unsteady walking/balance
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache

But the quickest way to check for symptoms is the FAST test.

Face: Ask the person to smile and check if one side of their face is dropping.

Arms: Ask the person to raise up both arms and check if they are the same height or if they have difficulty holding one up.

Speech: Ask them to repeat a short, simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Check if they are slurring their words and if you have a hard time understanding them.

Time: If you notice any of these signs, call for professional help immediately.

While Waiting for Help to Arrive

  • Stay calm and keep yourself composed. You need to reassure the victim things will be ok.
  • Remain with the person and make sure no additional harm comes to them like falling down.
  • Gently assist the person to lie down on their side with their head slightly raised and supported.
  • Loosen any restrictive clothing
  • Take note of what time the stroke happened, any medications that you know the patient takes.
  • Do not give any food, drink or medicine to the stroke victim.

A stroke is a medical emergency so saying “time is of the essence” is clearly an understatement! The brain is dying! Every minute counts and any delay could put the victim at risk of long-term disability or death. The best thing you can do is to recognize the symptoms and respond FAST!

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