Do you know the current stroke guidelines? AHA (the American Heart Association) issues a new set of treatment protocols, warning signals and guidelines periodically, something every teacher and people who work with the public should be intimately aware of. According to the Internet Stroke Center, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year, the vast majority of which are first strokes, with little or no warning. More than 140,000 of those who suffer a stroke die, making strokes the third leading cause of death in the United States. Contrary to common opinion, strokes do not just strike elderly people. Even children can suffer a stroke.
Stroke Warning Signs
Not everyone exhibits the same signs when they are having a stroke. Because of that, although immediate action is essential, it may not always be easy to tell if someone is suffering from a stroke. The American Stroke Association offers an easy checklist with the acronym, FAST:
•Face – When the person smiles, does one side droop?
•Arms – When they raise their arms, does one arm droop downward?
•Speech – Is the person’s speech slurred or incoherent?
•Time – If you see any of the above signs, it’s time to call 911 immediately, even if you aren’t absolutely sure there’s a problem.
Quick action is the key to saving lives and to preventing debilitating injuries after a stroke.
Finding AHA Stroke Guidelines
Staying current on AHA stroke guidelines can seem like a daunting task, especially for a teacher with a myriad of other duties and responsibilities. All of the latest stroke guideline information is listed on the AHA Website and is searchable by keyword, condition and topic. In addition, the AHA publishes a hard-bound reference volume with all of the current stroke guidelines. The most recent, 209-page edition was published in 2009 by Wiley Publishing House. You might suggest your school invest in a copy. Perhaps the best way to stay current is to read the news bulletins as they are issued by the AHA or read a few pages of the reference volume each week.
Benefits to Staying Current on AHA Stroke Guidelines
Of course, the most important reason for staying current on AHA stroke guidelines and other public health information is saving lives in the case of an emergency. Knowing what to do also helps you stay calm, which in turn, encourages your class and co-workers to stay calm. Stroke guidelines don’t just help in the classroom. You never know when you’re going to face a medical emergency. It could be on the bus, in the grocery store, or even during a family, holiday gathering.
So, don’t put off reading the current literature from the AHA or attending school-sponsored classes. The time you take to scan and absorb the information as it comes in could save lives.