A stroke can occur when blood supply to the brain is disrupted and starves the brain of oxygen.
What to look out for
- Facial weakness - uneven smile, droopy mouth or eye
- Arm weakness - can they raise both arms?
- Speech problems - can they speak clearly?
What to do
If you suspect someone is having a stroke, use the FAST guide to identify the key signs:
F – stands for facial weakness.
- Look at their mouth or eye – 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 – 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.