Stroke Foundation is once again imploring Victorians to call triple zero (000) at the first sign of stroke – no matter when it strikes.
Although Stage 4 restrictions are in place in metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, stroke does not stop because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said Victorians were delaying presentation to hospital, putting their lives at risk.
“I understand stress levels are heightened and people are fearful of contracting coronavirus in hospital or over burdening our doctors and nurses, but stroke is always a medical emergency,” Ms McGowan said.
“Precautions to maximise safety in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 areas of our hospitals are implemented and they have plans in place that ensure emergency services remain available.”
Stroke strikes the brain and can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime and at any age.
Ms McGowan said when a stroke happens, time saved in accessing stroke treatment equals brain saved.
“Around 1.9 million brain cells die each minute after a stroke, but prompt medical treatment can stop this damage,” she said.
“The longer a stroke remains untreated, the greater the chance of death or ongoing disability.”
A recent survey found just two in five Victorians could recognise the three most common signs of stroke when prompted.
These signs are referred to as the F.A.S.T signs of stroke.
- 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.
Ms McGowan also urged Victorians to regularly check in on relatives and friends who may be alone during the COVID-19 restrictions on the phone or in online chats.
“Please ensure they know the F.A.S.T. signs of stroke and that they know to call triple zero (000) in an emergency. It could save a life,” she said.