Should I give asprin for a stroke?


Should I give an Aspirin to a suspected Stroke casualty?

The First Aid Training Co-operative asks the question.

ALT TAGSome of you may have heard or read recent advice that we should give aspirin for stokes casualties.

New research states that “Casualties who take aspirin during a minor stroke can reduce the chances of a recurrence by 80%”.

This is indeed a confusing subject for the First Aider, who should NOT give Aspirin to a casualty having a suspected stoke.  This is what we teach on our first aid courses and will continue to do so.  We will now try and clarify the current First Aid advice for the First Aider:

Firstly the advice they have been discussing on the TV news is for medical professionals and not First Aiders.  First Aiders should NOT give an aspirin for a suspected stroke.

The research relates to using aspirin after a TIA (minor stroke) to help with long term medical care, and not to first aid casualties who are suffering from a suspected stroke. First Aiders should NOT give an aspirin for a suspected stroke.

Article about Stroke and Aspirin from the Stoke Association.

A First Aider will still concentrate on rapid access to hospital for a suspected stoke casualty so that the person can receive professional care in a timely manner.

Use the FAST test below to help to see if your casualty is suffering from a suspected stroke.

A stroke is a medical emergency. If you, or someone else, show any signs of having a stroke you need to seek immediate medical attention.

It is also very important to try and ascertain the time that the casualty was last known to be OK.  Or, when did the signs of stroke start?  This really helps the emergency services and can impact the treatment of the casualty.

The FAST test can help you to recognise some of the most common symptoms of a stroke:

  • FACIAL WEAKNESS: Can the person smile? Has their face fallen on one side?
  • ARM WEAKNESS: Can the person raise both arms and keep them there?
  • SPEECH PROBLEMS: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say? Is their speech slurred?
  • TIME TO CALL 999.


Other symptoms of stroke

Symptoms of stroke usually come on suddenly. Other symptoms can include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
  • Difficulty finding words
  • Sudden blurred vision or loss of sight
  • Sudden confusion, dizziness or unsteadiness
  • A sudden, severe headache.

Don’t forget a TIA

A transient ischaemic attack or TIA is similar to a stroke but the symptoms are temporary – usually lasting from a few minutes up to 24 hours. A TIA is serious and should not be ignored.

If you experience any of the symptoms described above, even for a short amount of time, you must call 999.

As always what you read and see in the news media can be misunderstood or misinterpreted!

When can we give an Aspirin?

For a Heart Attack, read our blog on this subject here:

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