Detecting a Stroke

A construction site is often a hectic place with an incredibly high level of activity. Workers and machines move about in a frenzy, with everyone focused on the task at hand. In this environment, it’s easy to miss the signs and symptoms of a serious health situation, like a stroke. Early detection is critical to saving a life.

A stoke happens quickly. Most neurologists agree that if a victim is treated within the first three hours of its onset, some effects of a stroke can be totally reversed.

The following are the most common symptoms of stroke. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Also, remember that not all of the symptoms occur every time; so don’t ignore any of the symptoms, even if they go away.

Symptoms may include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body;
  • Sudden confusion or difficulty speaking or understanding;
  • Sudden problems with vision such as dimness or loss of vision in one or both eyes;
  • Sudden dizziness or problems with balance or coordination;
  • Sudden problems with movement or walking; and
  • Sudden severe headaches with no other known cause.

The first three letters in the word stroke can help you determine if a person is having a stroke. Ask the individual to:

  • S – Smile
  • T – Talk – Get them to speak a simple sentence, coherently, such as “It is sunny out today.”
  • R – Raise both arms.

Another method for remembering what symptoms to look for is the word “FAST.” The letters remind you to look for:

  • Facial weakness – Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eyes drooped?
  • Arm weakness – Can the person raise both arms and hold them parallel?
  • Speech problems – Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
  • Time is critical – Contact your supervisor immediately and consider calling 911.

Also, if you ask the person to stick out their tongue and, when they do, it is ‘crooked’ or goes to one side or the other, there is a great likelihood that this person is having a stroke.

No matter the method you use to detect the signs and symptoms of a stroke, remember to seek medical attention – even if you are not sure. It’s always best to err on the side of safety.

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