Stroke Self-Care at Home
Stroke is a medical emergency and seconds count. Brain cells begin to die within 4 minutes of the beginning of a stroke. Call 9-1-1 for emergency medical transport to a hospital's emergency department. If a person is having stroke-like symptoms, self-care should not be attempted.
- The newest (2013) recommendations from The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines for care include taking the patient via EMS ambulance to the nearest hospital that is designated as a stroke center. Designated stroke centers have met new criteria (for example, they have neurologists and neurosurgeons on call or present, and rapid availability of CT scans) that allow more optimal treatment of patients with strokes. Ideally, the hospital should be notified by EMS that a stroke patient is in transit so the hospital staff can be in the emergency department quickly and tests like a head CT will not be delayed.
- Current treatments for acute stroke must be given by a doctor and within a short time of the onset of symptoms. It is crucial for the person experiencing a stroke to get to the emergency department (preferably in a stroke center designated hospital) as quickly as possible to get the most benefit from any treatment.
- If you think you are having a stroke or someone with you is having a stroke, call 9-1-1.
- Do not wait to see if symptoms go away.
- Do not call your doctor.
- Do not take aspirin. This will be given later if needed.
- Do not drive yourself or wait for a ride to the hospital.
- Do not delay making the call to 9-1-1.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2015
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