Also known as cerebrovascular accident, a stroke is a condition wherein the brain ceases to function due to lack of blood supply. This could be due to the presence of blood clots or due to a hemorrhage. Our brain needs oxygen to function properly, and it is dependent on the heart to supply oxygen enriched blood to it. If the blood vessels leading to it are blocked due to blood clots, it becomes difficult for the brain to receive adequate amount of oxygen, the lack of which can cause brain cells to die within minutes.
Therefore, when it comes to assisting a stroke victim, one needs to be very quick in calling 911 and seek immediate medical assistance. One must also be very careful in handling a stroke victim until help arrives as the slightest of mistake or ignorance can cause severe damage that can lead to death. So, what is the ideal first aid for stroke victims? What should be done to help a stroke victim?
What Should a First Aid for a Stroke Victim Include?
To help a stroke victim, you first need to understand what he or she is going through. You cannot know how exactly a stroke feels like, unless you have experienced one yourself, which I pray that you don't! Lack of oxygen in the brain causes various symptoms like blurred vision, lack of stability and balance in the body, and numbness or weakness in one side of the body.
The person may have a slurred speech and trouble understanding as to what you are saying. One side of the body may become paralyzed and the person may have a crooked mouth. Complaints like weakness in the arms or legs and intense headache and pressure along with the aforementioned signs is a sure way to confirm a stroke attack! So how can you help a person in this situation to revive?
☛ Call Emergency Medical Assistance Immediately!
While in conditions like choking and drowning, you can perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to revive a patient, in this case, there is nothing much that you can do, but what you can do, also counts a lot in saving the life of a person! The first and foremost step that you need to do is to call 911 immediately. The call taker will also instruct you as to what you need to do until help arrives. You need to be calm and listen very carefully to what he or she says.
☛ Check for the ABC of CPR!
If you are trained in performing CPR, then you would know how to check the Airways, breathing and circulation of the victim. Check if there is any obstruction in the airways, or if the person is breathing properly or not. You should help the victim lay down in a position wherein he can breathe properly, this is explained in the next point.
☛ Help the Victim Lay on One Side
You should be very careful in doing this as sudden jerks and movements can cause internal bleeding and cause the brain damage. Without making any drastic movements, help the person lay down with his head and shoulders slightly elevated, this helps reduce excessive blood pressure in the brain and helps the person breathe properly by opening the airways. If the person is unconscious but is breathing, then it is advisable to lay the victim down in the recovery position. You will have to make the person lay down on the left side and extend the chin upwards so that the person can breathe properly. This position also helps the person vomit in case something needs to come out.
☛ Don't Move or Shake the Victim
You may get panic when you see the person unresponsive or unconscious. You may also shake the person so that he or she comes into his or her senses. But this is something you must not do in any case. You see, in case of a stroke, the brain vessels tend to damage quickly, and I have already mentioned earlier that your sudden movements can cause the blood vessels to burst. You should also make sure that you don't allow the person to move from their current position in any case. Also, don't give the person anything to eat or drink, this may choke the person.
☛ Ensure the Victim that Help is Coming Soon
Your presence can help the person tremendously in this condition. Your constant support and assurance can be an encouragement to the victim till help arrives. Just be there with the person and keep reminding him that you are there with him and that help is on the way to make everything OK.
It is very important to seek immediate medical assistance and follow their instructions until help arrives. Therefore, not panicking and being quick and attentive is the key. To avoid being on the receiving side, a healthy and active lifestyle is the key to stroke prevention. Therefore, make sure that you don't smoke as it is the number 1 cause of stroke in the United States. Apart from that, you need to maintain your weight, cholesterol and blood sugar levels as all these can cause a stroke as well. Regular checkups and doctor's advice is a must to prevent the risks for stroke attack.