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Q: What should I do if I think someone is having a stroke?

When someone is having a stroke, they may not realize that there is something going on with them. The injury to their brain can prevent them from perceiving their own stroke symptoms. That’s why it’s so important that someone nearby recognize the symptoms and get help as quickly as possible.

Some common and obvious signs of stroke are facial drooping, arm or leg weakness or numbness, slurred speech, and trouble speaking or understanding. Other symptoms of stroke include sudden loss of balance or coordination; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden blurred vision; and/or a severe headache.

If you think you or someone near you is having a stroke, call 911 immediately. Stroke treatment starts in the ambulance and the EMTs can relay important medical information to the ER before you arrive. Life-saving medication and treatments are time dependent. The sooner a stroke victim receives treatment, the better the chances for recovery.

A great way to remember what to do is with the acronym BE FAST. It stands for B) loss of BALANCE; E) blurred vision (EYES); F) drooping on one side of the FACE; A) weakness/numbness in one ARM or leg; S) trouble with SPEECH; T) and note the TIME the symptoms started when calling 911.
Everyone should know “BE FAST” so they can look out for these sudden stroke symptoms and call 911 immediately.

Mariah Mossman, RN
Stroke Program Manager, Maui Health