FIRST AID: Recognising and dealing with a stroke

Advice from St John Ambulance on what to do if someone has a stroke
Advice from St John Ambulance on what to do if someone has a stroke

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St John Ambulance, the nation’s leading first aid charity, has teamed up with The News to bring you some simple, but life-saving, first aid tips.

This week – recognising and dealing with a stroke.

A stroke can occur when blood supply to the brain is disrupted and starves the brain of oxygen.

A stroke is a medical emergency and you need to act FAST.

If you suspect someone is having a stroke you can use the FAST guide to identify the key signs:

F – stands for facial weakness. Look at their mouth or eyes, they may be droopy and they can’t smile evenly.

A – Arm weakness. Ask them to raise both of their arms. They may only be able to raise one.

S – Speech problems. They are unable to speak clearly or might not be able to understand what you are saying to them. Ask them a question, such as ‘What is your name?’ Can they respond appropriately?

T – It’s time to call 999/112 for emergency help and tell them you suspect a stroke after using the FAST guide.

While waiting for help to arrive keep them comfortable, supported and reassure them. Do not give them anything to eat or drink because it may be hard for them to swallow. Keep monitoring their level of response until help arrives. If they become unresponsive prepare to treat for an unresponsive casualty.

For those looking for quick, easily accessible first aid information, the St John Ambulance app is available free on smartphones and the website sja.org.uk offers demonstration videos and lots of free advice. For more information about first aid courses please call 0303 003 0101.