First Aid for a Casualty Suffering from a Stroke

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A relentless stroke can cause death.  A less brutal stroke can cause brain damage, which also damages certain body functions, depending on the section of the brain affected. In both heart attack and stroke, hardening of the arteries is the main cause. Over time, the arteries become narrowed and finally a clot blocks a narrowed artery

A condition related to a stroke is a transient ischaemic attack (TIA). A TIA is caused by a shortage of oxygen to a part of the brain. It has the similar signs and symptoms of a stroke. Even though, a TIA is not dangerous, it is a warning sign that a stroke might pursue.


Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke

The signs and symptoms of a stroke are dependent on what fraction of the brain is affected. Often, only a single side of the body shows signs because only a single side of the brain is affected. Memorize the acronym F.A.S.T – it is a way to check for the signs of a stroke and to get immediate help.


Facial droop – one side of the face might sag compared to the other side.

Arm movement – have the casualty stretch both arms out. One arm might not move compared to the other arm.

Speech – the casualty slurs while talking, uses inaccurate words or is not able to talk.

Time – get instant medical assistance. The quicker a stroke is treated – the superior the outcome.

In both heart attack and stroke, hardening of the arteries is the main cause
In both heart attack and stroke, hardening of the arteries is the main cause

Casualties might complain of:

Weakness: Unexpected weakness, lack of feeling or stinging in the face, arm or leg.

Vision: Swift loss of vision, mainly in one eye or even double vision.

Headache: Unexpected  headache.

Dizziness: Sudden loss of stability.

Bladder: Loss of bladder or bowel movement.

Imbalanced pupils


First Aid for a Stroke Casualty

A first aider cannot tell whether the casualty is having a stroke or a TIA, so the first aid is the same for both. If the signs and symptoms pass after a few minutes, suggesting the problem was a TIA, tell the casualty to see a doctor – a stroke could follow.

  1. Ask the casualty questions to determine the history.
  2. Call for medical help.
  3. Position the casualty in the most relaxed position – usually semi-sitting.
  4. Offer nothing by mouth. If the casualty is dehydrated, dampen the lips with a damp cloth.
  5. Shelter the casualty from harm when he/she is elevated or moved.
  6. If the casualty becomes semiconscious or unconscious, position them in the recovery position.
  7. If the casualty is unresponsive and stops breathing, begin CPR.

Related Video on Strokes

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