It’s no secret that stroke is a frightening and urgent condition. The first 30 minutes after the event are crucial to determining the outcome of a person’s life and their chance for a full recovery. Fortunately, you can do some easy things that may help them survive—even if just by delaying the inevitable. In this article, you’ll learn the first things you must do to survive your stroke during the first 30 minutes.
What is a stroke, and what can happen during the first 30 minutes?
A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), is a sudden health emergency where the blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can happen due to a blocked or burst blood vessel. When this happens, the brain doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Depending on how long the brain goes without this vital blood flow, different areas of the brain can be damaged. Some common symptoms of stroke include sudden numbness or weakness in one arm or leg, difficulty speaking, blurred vision, and dizziness.
The first and most important thing to do during the first 30 minutes of a stroke is to call emergency personnel. If possible, call an ambulance and inform them that you believe you or someone you know has had a stroke. If there’s no time for an ambulance, then try to get help from anyone who can drive—even if it’s just calling the police or other emergency officials.
Inform them to drive to the nearest emergency room so healthcare professionals can take care of you or the person suffering from the stroke right away. But if your emergency room is filled to the brim, it might be a better idea to visit an urgent care clinic. These clinics can also attend to your needs minus the long lines and the crowds.
If you live in North America, you should also contact 911 within the first 10 minutes of the event so that they can dispatch an ambulance or send other emergency responders.
First 30 minutes after the event
The first thing you need to do after a stroke is to determine how bad it might be. This will help emergency responders better assess your situation and prepare for the necessary treatments upon arrival at the hospital.
It’s important not to move them unless they’re in danger of strangling themselves with their body weight or if this action can save someone from further harm. If you need to move them, make sure your hands and arms are straight and under the person’s shoulders or neck for support.
If the person’s on their back, lift and turn them on one side so they can cough and expel any liquids from their lungs. If you have a pillow at hand, it can be used to support their head and neck during this time. This is known as the recovery position since blood won’t flow back down the throat, and their airway will remain open.
If you find that they’re choking on saliva, vomit, or another substance, try to remove it by sweeping your fingers from their mouth and scooping the material away. If you find that they’re not breathing, then you’ll need to start rescue breathing by sealing their nose with your mouth and giving them two breaths. After this, check for a pulse.
If you can’t feel a pulse, then start CPR by giving them 30 chest compressions. Keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends chest compressions instead of mouth-to-mouth breathing since this is more efficient. However, it’s important to note that if an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, you should use it to shock them instead.
After 30 minutes have passed since the stroke happened
After 30 minutes, the risk of permanent damage starts to increase. This is especially true for people who didn’t receive immediate care after their stroke occurred.
The first thing you should do is remove any dangerous objects that might cause further harm. This includes things like razors, knives, and other sharp objects that can cause injury.
If you find yourself alone with the person, use a blanket or shirt to cover them up, so they don’t get cold. Keeping the person warm is important since a stroke can sometimes make them very sensitive to changes in temperature and cause their body temperature to drop
If you’re able to, then try raising the head of their bed by about 30 degrees or two pillows since this can also help reduce the risk of aspiration. This is especially true if they’re vomiting or coughing up blood, as it can be very dangerous to have them lying flat on their back while this is happening.
If they’re conscious, try talking to them and asking questions so you can assess their mental state and see if they can recover from the situation. Keep in mind that they might not be able to answer your questions, and it’s possible for them to lose their ability to speak in the hours following their stroke.
Doing this will give you an idea of how severe it might be and what kind of recovery they’ll need. It’ll also help the emergency responders that will be taking them to a hospital know what kind of treatment they might require and how long it might take before they can be released.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a stroke, then knowing what to do in the first 30 minutes is vital. If you want to reduce the chances of long-term injury or disability after a stroke, make sure that you take care of yourself and those around you during this time by following this short guide.