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DES MOINES, Iowa — May is Stroke Awareness Month, and doctors say it is especially to raise awareness about signs of stroke during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“There’s obviously a lot of fear out there in the healthcare world to go to the doctor. So, we’re hearing a lot of stories of all types of specialists having people coming in with late findings, late presentations of chronic findings,” said Douglas Massop, MD, a Vascular Surgeon at The Iowa Clinic.

He added time is of the essence when a stroke is concerned. Classic warning signs include weakness or numbness in the face, arm or leg, usually on just one side, difficulty speaking or understanding language, decreased or blurred vision in one or both eyes, unexplained loss of balance or dizziness, or a severe headache with no known cause.

You can use a simple test called act F.A.S.T.

F =Face- Ask the person to smile and see if one side of the face droops or it looks uneven.

A =Arms- Ask the person to raise both arms and look to see if one drifts downward. That could signal a weakness on one side of their body.

S =Speech- Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Did they slur, did the speech sound strange, could they repeat the phrase? Trouble speaking is a tell tale sign of stroke.

T =Time- If the person failed any part of the test, check the time and get help. Call 911 immediately. You should tell them the time you took the test so they can determine the length of the stroke.

You can read more on The Iowa Clinic’s website.