Pocahontas Memorial Hospital launched a stroke awareness education initiative last fall to help our community understand the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, a leading cause of death and serious long-term disability in the United States.

“Time is crucial in the treatment of stroke as, on average, every 40 seconds someone in the US has a stroke and roughly every four minutes someone dies from a stroke,” Kyna Moore, Chief Nursing Officer at PMH said. “The earlier a stroke is recognized and the patient receives medical attention, the greater chance of recovery.”

Now, PMH is asking for help from the county’s first through fifth grade students to make posters highlighting the risk of stroke and the FAST approach.

“If you suspect a stroke, remember the word FAST,” Moore said. “F is for face – is your face drooping. A is for arms – can you lift both arms? S is for speech – are you slurring your words and T is for time, call 9-1-1 immediately because with stroke, time is imperative.”

Moore is in the process of speaking to elementary school students and they are invited to make a poster and turn it in to their school administration office by February 8.

A winning poster will be selected from each school. The students, whose posters are selected, will each receive $25. In addition, $25 will be given to each student’s classroom for supplies, snacks or other materials.

Strokes occur when a blood vessel carrying oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When this occurs, part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, destroying millions of valuable nerve cells within minutes.

The primary stroke symptoms include:

* Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the face or facial drooping;

* Sudden numbness of weakness in an arm or leg, especially on one side of the body;

* Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech;

* Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes;

* Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination;

* Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Leading a healthy lifestyle, including lowering risk factors like high blood pressure and weight, can help reduce your stroke risk.

For more information about stroke, visit strokeawareness.com

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