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Recognize a Stroke and Give First Aid

By Justin Haagen on Jun 28, 2016 in Managing Medical Emergencies, Simple Life-Saving Skills

A stroke, or brain attack, occurs when the blood supply to a portion of the brain is suddenly interrupted.

This most commonly occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel. It can also occur when a weak spot in a vessel wall, known as an aneurysm, bursts open and bleeds into brain tissue.

Signs of a stroke vary and tend to show up suddenly.

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, may be present.
  • A person may appear confused.
  • A change in the ability to speak or understand can occur.
  • Sight and balance can be affected.
  • A severe, sudden headache may be described.

Ask the person to:

  • Smile.
  • Hold up both arms.
  • Speak a simple sentence.

If the person has trouble with any of the above tasks, a stroke may have occurred.

Activate EMS immediately if a stroke is suspected.

A stroke is a very serious medical emergency.  Rapid treatment in a hospital is critical in limiting the damage that can occur. A person having a stroke can become frustrated at being unable to move or communicate clearly. A person having a stroke can appear confused but still be aware of what is happening. Do not give anything to eat or drink. Be prepared for the chance of sudden cardiac arrest, and the need for CPR and the use of an AED.