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COVID-19 Precautions for Stroke and Heart Patients

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If you or a loved one has experienced a stroke or heart disease, Coronavirus may be especially worrying to you.

Early data from medical experts indicate that people who have suffered a stroke, heart condition, or vascular disease are at a higher risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19.

To protect yourself from exposure to the virus, frequent handwashing is essential. Avoid touching your face as much as possible and clean high-touch surfaces frequently with regular household cleaners. 

If you had a stroke, or have heart or vascular disease, social distancing is critically important.  Remember to stay at least six feet away from others. Wear a mask or cloth face covering when out in public where it is difficult to social distance. 

Continue to take all medications as prescribed. There have been many false reports that some medications may increase the risk of COVID-19. There is no scientific evidence to suggest this is true. Stopping your prescribed medications may make you feel worse and require you to seek medical attention.

“For anyone who experiences the signs of a stroke or heart attack call 9-1-1 immediately,” said Dr. Steven Nathanson, McLeod Health Clarendon Emergency Department Medical Director. “Don’t be afraid to seek medical help. Emergency Departments are still able to safely care for all types of patients. Getting care as soon as possible improves the chance of survival.”

Every minute counts for stroke patients and acting F.A.S.T. can lead patients to the stroke treatments they desperately need.  The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within the first three hours of the first symptoms. Many people are not aware that stroke patients may not be eligible for stroke treatments if they arrive at the hospital after the three-hour window. 

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do this simple test:

F-FACE: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?                                     

A-ARMS: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?                   

S-SPEECH: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?                                                                                                                                       

T-TIME: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Visit McLeodStrokeQuiz.org to test your stroke knowledge by taking this short quiz.

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