Act FAST and look after your loved ones this festive season

While families are busily making plans for the festive season, Stroke Foundation has issued an important reminder – stroke can happen anywhere and at any time, even at Christmas.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said it was vital we look after our loved ones and call triple zero (000) at the first sign of stroke (Face. Arms. Speech. Time).

“I know many families are having long-awaited reunions after being separated by border closures or other travel restrictions during 2020, so it seems even more important to act fast at the first signs of stroke,” Ms McGowan said.

“It doesn’t matter if it interrupts a party or Christmas dinner, always dial triple zero (000) if you suspect a stroke. It could save a life.”

Stroke strikes the brain without warning. When a stroke occurs, up to 1.9 million brain cells can die every minute, but treatment can stop this damage. The quicker a stroke is diagnosed and treated, the better your chance of making a good recovery.

Learn and share the F.A.S.T signs of stroke this Christmas:

Face – Check their face. Has their mouth drooped?

Arms – Can they lift both arms?

Speech – Is their speech slurred? Do they understand you?

Time – Time is critical. If you see any of these signs, call triple zero (000) straight away.

A recent survey found just 16 percent of Australians could recognise two or more signs of stroke unprompted. Ms McGowan urged everyone to help boost those numbers by remembering and sharing the F.A.S.T signs of stroke.

“The more people who know what to do when a stroke occurs, the better,” she said.

“Lives would be saved and disability from stroke would be reduced.”

Ms McGowan has also urged Australians to regularly check in on relatives and friends who may be alone over the festive season.

“Pop in for a quick visit, make a call or set up a video conference if you can. Ensure they know the F.A.S.T. message and to call triple zero (000) in an emergency. The worst thing people can do is ignore the signs or try to “sleep them off”.”

There are some other signs of stroke.

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