A stroke is the interruption of blood flow to the brain, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain and causing cells to die. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), stroke is the #5 cause of death in the United States and is a leading cause of disability. Fast reaction to the first signs of a stroke can make not only the difference between life and death but can determine the amount of disability suffered from the event. The physicians at Medco ER & Urgent Care have compiled the information you need to know to quickly and properly respond to signs of a stroke.
“A stroke usually has noticeable symptoms,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora. “If you educate yourself and know what to look for, you can respond fast and call 911. EMS and emergency rooms are both set up with a stroke protocol to begin treatment as soon as possible.”
Signs of a Stroke
The 3 classic signs of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym F.A.S.T.
F – Face – one side of the face or mouth is drooping
A – Arms – ask him/her to raise both arms and see if one arm drifts down or is weak
S – Speech – stroke victims will have slurred speech or difficulty talking
T – Time – act quickly and call 911
In addition to these 3 classic signs of a stroke, the patient may experience the sudden onset of other symptoms. The important thing to note is these symptoms will come on suddenly. Here is the list of additional symptoms, according to ASA:
- Numbness – weakness or numbness of face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion – confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing – vision problem in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking – dizziness, loss of coordination and balance
- Severe headache – sudden headache
Risk Facts for Stroke
Factors such as age, race, gender and family history may contribute to your risk of stroke, however many risk factors can be changed or controlled. Some of these factors include a chronic medical condition, overweight, diet rich in fats, smoking or sedentary lifestyle. These factors can contribute to the risk of stroke:
- Heart disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- Peripheral artery disease
- Carotid artery disease
- High blood cholesterol
- Inactive lifestyle
- Diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium
- High blood pressure
- Sickle cell anemia
Emergency Care Needed
“A stroke is an emergency and must be treated immediately,” said Dr. Vora. “Call 911 rather than drive the person to the ER since the EMS is equipped to begin treatment on a stroke immediately.”
Time is of utmost importance when it comes to a serious condition such as a stroke.
Kinds of Stroke
There are two main types of strokes:
- Hemorrhagic: Caused by bleeding in the brain; occurs about 20% of the time.
- Ischemic: Caused by a blood clot in the brain; more common, occurs about 80% of the time.
In the emergency setting, it is crucial to find out what type of stroke a person is experiencing. This could be quickly determined by a CT scan of the head.
At Medco ER, we are equipped with advanced imaging equipment and can perform the CT scan in less than 30 minutes from arrival. We also have close contacts with expert Radiologists who can provide a quick assessment of the CT images.
Furthermore, we are affiliated with local hospitals and specialized stroke centers and can quickly reach a Neurologist for an expert opinion to discuss the various types of treatment in a timely fashion.
Find help at Medco ER & Urgent Care
Patients suffering symptoms of a stroke can find fast access to quality medical care at Medco ER & Urgent Care. Our board-certified physicians have the years of experience needed to quickly identify and treat strokes. Our easy-access, freestanding ER has much of the same equipment found in a hospital-attached ER and we are fully ready to treat you 24/7 when the need arises.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.
We’ve all seen the memes to combat the coronavirus scare that’s paralyzing the world: “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands,” and there is a lot of truth to that glib comment. Social media has unending anecdotal remarks to offer in the never-ending quest to keep yourself and your children healthy during this busy flu and coronavirus season. But what do the medical experts have to say?
We’ve compiled our 5 best suggestions for staying healthy and avoiding the flu or coronavirus.
1. Wash your hands the right way
Yes, everyone knows we need to wash our hands frequently during flu season, but it might be a surprise to hear that very few adults do it correctly. Begin with warm water and plenty of soap. Make sure to wash the backs of the hands and the fingernails as well. Wash for 20 seconds, or two rounds of “Happy Birthday.” Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door.
Take time to remind and reteach your children how to wash the right way and quiz them on opportunities they have at school to wash and to use hand sanitizer. “Hand washing is the #1 way to get rid of coronavirus germs,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora.
2. Cover up
When you sneeze or cough, use a tissue or cover your mouth with your elbow to block microscopic particles from becoming airborne. Wash or sanitize after sneezing. Some people have opted to wear medical masks in public to reduce the risk of exposure.
3. Avoid contact
Avoid touching your face – eyes, nose, mouth – to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting germs. If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others. Don’t share eating utensils or glasses. Use your own towels, bedding and clothes and keep them clean. If you know someone who is sick, avoid that person until he or she has been fever-free for at least 24 hours.
4. Build up your immune system
Diets high in refined sugars and starches can weaken immune systems. Limit the amount of sugars and empty carbs you and your children are consuming and opt instead for extra vegetables and fruits at mealtimes and as snacks.
Consider adding foods rich in:
- Vitamin C – kiwis, lemons, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, oranges
- Zinc – dairy, eggs, meat, whole grains, legumes, nuts
5. Develop clever ways to protect your hands from germs
Think through your day. Do you have to touch elevator buttons to get to work? Do you ride an escalator or travel a lot of stairs? Does your store or ATM have a touch screen? Do you share a keyboard with others? How many public doors do you have to open as you go about a typical work day? Do you look at a menu at the restaurant? Begin strategizing how to get through your day with less contact with public surfaces. Do the same for your child.
Gloves, tissues, paper towels, a pencil and other devices can provide a layer of protection as you navigate. A natural antibacterial spray for the air, such as tea tree oil and water, can help cut down airborne germs. And, of course, don’t forget the hand sanitizer for times you have to touch a public surface and don’t have a chance to wash.
When should I go to the ER?
A common variety of flu can be treated with rest, fluids and staying home. Over-the-counter fever reducers, cough suppressants and decongestants may provide some relief. However, secondary infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia can crop up and they require prompt medical attention. As a general rule, if you are still feeling bad after 3 days, seek medical help. If you are having difficulty breathing or have become too dehydrated, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) immediately.
With the coronavirus, symptoms can manifest anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. If you think you or your child may have contracted this virus, go to the nearest ER immediately. “Because the coronavirus requires containment and medical supervision, it is important that you tell your doctor right away if you think you have contracted the virus,” said Dr. Vora. “Include any information about recent travels and any exposure you may have had.”
Warning signs of coronavirus / COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
Where can I find help for the flu or virus?
For fast medical help, Medco ER & Urgent Care is available in two convenient locations. We’re always open, day and night, even on holidays. Within minutes of arriving, you will be ushered into a private room and will receive prompt care from a board-certified physician.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road. Call us @ 469-392-4000.
- Frisco: 5600 Eldorado Parkway across from McDonald’s and Costco. Call us @ 469-392-4100.