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What to Do if You Have Symptoms of Stroke

Remember that a stroke is a medical emergency. Sometimes it is even called a brain attack.

  • Don't ignore stroke warning signs – even if you have just one warning sign or if symptoms are mild or go away.
  • Don't wait! Every minute counts.
  • Call 911 or emergency medical services (EMS) if you have one or more symptoms for more than a few minutes. An ambulance can get you to a hospital without delay.
  • Check the time when symptoms begin. This is important information to share when you arrive at the hospital.

What if you're with someone else who might be having stroke symptoms but you're not sure?

Take charge and call 911. Some people may deny that there is a serious problem. They don't want others to make a fuss. Or they might ask, "What's the big rush?" It may help to remember this: What's the worst thing that can happen if this isn't a stroke? An unnecessary trip to the hospital. But what's the worst thing that can happen if you ignore the problem and it turns out to be a stroke? The result could be much worse.

How to Prepare for a Stroke

Few people think a stroke will happen to them. But if you or someone you know has a stroke, taking these steps in advance may end up making a very big difference. Take action with these tips today or as soon as possible:

  • Ask a doctor or nurse which hospitals in your area are primary stroke centers with 24-hour emergency stroke care. They are best equipped to care for people who have strokes. You may be able to find stroke care centers online, too. 
  • Find out which hospital or medical facility is closest to your home or work. Your human resources department may be able to help you locate those near work. Your doctor may be able to help you with this, too.

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