I’ve never been around someone who’s having a stroke but it must be a terrifying experience for both the one with the problem and those around her or him! “Should I call 911” has to be a terrifying question?
Much research has been done on this subject and fortunately, there are now three questions we can ask that will help answer this critical question. According to the Cincinnati Pre-Hospital Stroke Scale (CPSS) this is quite accurate.
#1: Ask the ill person to smile.
If they’re having a stroke, one side of their face may be weak, which is a classic sign of a stroke. It’s better if someone who knows the possible patient is present because (s)he will be familiar with the patient’s smile and will know if it’s “off”.
#2: Ask them to repeat a simple sentence.
Watch for slurred words.
#3: Ask them to raise their hands over their heads and keep them there for a brief time.
Generally, stroke patients can’t raise their hands to the same height which is a sign that their arms are weak. Not good.
If any of these three simple criteria can’t be fulfilled, it’s best to be safe and call for professional help.