A stroke is where the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted. The main causes of strokes are ruptured blood vessel, damage to the brain, or blockages to a blood vessel occurring in or around the brain. Strokes can occur in young people as well as well as the elderly.
Signs and Symptoms may include:
- Severe headache
- Facial weakness with difficulty in swallowing.
- Unequal pupils may be possible.
- Casualty may be unconscious.
- Loss of movement, feeling or control of one side of the body.
- Slurred or garbled speech
- Epileptic seizures may occur.
- Pulse may be strong.
If you suspect someone may be having a stroke, do this simple test:
S – Smile. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the mouth droop?
T – Talk. Talk to the person. Is their speech slurred?
A – Ask them easy questions. i.e. What is the date? Where are you?
R – Raise. Ask the person to raise their arms. Is one arm lower that the other?
- Follow the Basic First Aid Plan to assess the casualty.
- Call for an Ambulance.
- Make the casualty comfortable.
- If unconscious, place the casualty in the lateral position, with the affected side down to allow any saliva to drain from the mouth.
- If conscious, lean the casualty towards the affected side.
- Raise the head and shoulders slightly.
- The casualty will benefit from oxygen therapy.
- Reassure the casualty. Do not panic.
- As you move the casualty, watch how you handle the affected limbs as they can be dislocated or the muscles damaged.