Stroke Foundation Christmas warning

If you suspect somebody is having a stroke, call triple zero (000) straight away.
If you suspect somebody is having a stroke, call triple zero (000) straight away.

With one stroke every nine minutes in Australia, the Stroke Foundation has issued a warning to remind people not to become complacent about the signs of stroke during the festive season.

Stroke Foundation CEO Sharon McGowan said if you suspect somebody is having a stroke, call triple zero (000) straight away.

“Tragically, at this time of year we hear of too many people who put off calling an ambulance for fear of disrupting their family holiday plans and celebrations,’’ Ms McGowan said.

“I understand people, particularly the elderly, don’t want to feel like a burden to their loved ones, but a decision to rest rather than seek urgent medical treatment could cost their life.”

Stroke happens without warning, interrupting blood flow to the brain, killing up to 1.9 million brain cells each minute. The sooner treatment is sought, the better the chance of recovery.

Health professionals report an increase in the number of stroke patients who take too long to get to hospital during the festive season, and therefore risk missing the window to access the latest time-critical treatments.

Ms McGowan says stroke is always a serious medical emergency requiring urgent attention.

“Stroke does not take a holiday. It can strike at any age anywhere any time,’’ she said.

“A great gift you can give your family and friends this Christmas is to teach them how to recognise the signs of stroke. Think F.A.S.T and act FAST.”

A person is likely to show at least one of these signs when having a stroke, although symptoms may only appear for a short time.

Ms McGowan said Stroke Foundation’s Christmas wish was for at least one person in every Australian household to know the F.A.S.T signs of stroke.

“Put your family’s health first as we head into Christmas and the New Year – be aware of the signs of stroke, share them with your loved ones and take action FAST if stroke strikes,” she said.

Media contact: Emily Granland ph) 03 9670 1000 m) 0408 000 409 e) media@strokefoundation.org.auw) www.strokefoundation.org.au Image: FAST graphic (attached)