Be Stroke Smart - Learn Warning Signs and Act Fast

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Stroke Warning Signs Graphic


Strokes — brain damage caused by a lack of blood flow — are the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S with one in six people being affected. 

Fairfax County has been proclaimed as Stroke Smart — an initiative from the Virginia Department of Health that aims to reduce disability and death from strokes by educating you to recognize the signs of a stroke and to be confident calling 9-1-1 immediately when necessary. 


Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of a stroke can come and go. They can be different for different people, and a second stroke suffered after a first may look different. If you have even one of the symptoms below do not wait thinking it will pass.

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
  • A droopy smile or an inability to raise one arm.

Treatments to restore blood flow and save the brain are effective but time-sensitive. As soon as you spot a stroke, call 9-1-1. The earlier you get to the hospital, the more likely you are to avoid serious health issues.

Warning Signs of a Stroke


County Resources

  • The Helping Hands Stroke Club brings together stroke survivors and their caregivers as they rebuild and expand their lives. The group focuses on understanding stroke and its impact, reducing risks, adjusting to life after stroke, and much more. It meets every Friday from 1-2 p.m. at the Joseph Willard Speech-Language-Hearing site. A caregiver support group meets as part of the club on a quarterly basis. More information.
  • Health Preparedness for Stroke Survivors and Caregivers - from the Golden Gazette


Be a Stroke Smart Champion

  • Teach it forward by sharing your Stroke Smart knowledge with others. Many who suffer strokes can’t call 9-1-1 themselves; by educating others, you create a safer stroke community for everyone.
  • Get Stroke Smart wallet cards and magnets available for your place of business or homeowners association. Order in bulk at no cost from VDH or download a PDF file of the artwork if you only need a personal aid. 
  • Bring Stroke Smart education to your groups, service clubs, retirement homes, local businesses, etc. Slide presentations are available from the Northern Virginia EMS Council
  • Watch and share this three-minute video to become Stroke Smart.




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