During Stroke Month and All Year Long, Be Aware and BE FAST

As May ends, Stroke Awareness Month does too, but McLaren Flint has two important takeaways for the community.

One, stroke symptoms are always an emergency, even during COVID-19. McLaren implemented extreme safety precautions for COVID-19 that go beyond its already stringent standards. Those measures include separating patients with COVID-19 symptoms, screening everyone who enters its facilities for symptoms, and more frequently disinfecting high-touch areas.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to be imperative that anyone experiencing the signs and symptoms of stroke calls 911 or is transported for emergency care immediately,” said Ashley Yotkois, RN, BSN, McLaren Flint Neuroscience Coordinator.

Strokes are the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States and cause the highest number of long-term disabilities. Once a blood vessel bursts or is blocked and oxygen stops flowing to the brain, time is ticking for a person’s future.

The second takeaway is knowing how to spot the signs of a stroke, which can help save a life. If you can remember the acronym BE FAST, you can remember these signs to watch for:

  • Balance – Watch for a sudden loss of balance.
  • Eyes – Is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes? Or double vision?
  • Face – Ask the person to smile and check to see if one side of the face droops.
  • Arm – Ask the person to raise both arms and see if one arm drifts downward.
  • Speech – Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence and check to see if words are slurred or the sentence is repeated incorrectly.
  • Time – If a person shows any of these symptoms, it is important to get to the hospital as quickly as possible, and immediately call 911.

McLaren Flint is the region’s only designated Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, and continues to provide cutting-edge, compassionate care to stroke patients. McLaren Flint is also part of the McLaren Stroke Network, the only program in Michigan - and one of only a handful in the nation - where every stroke patient is seen by a stroke trained interventional neurologist in minutes, any time of the day or night.

For more information on strokes and stroke care, visit mclaren.org/flintstroke.