On average, it takes 12 to 24 hours for adults to get to the hospital after recognizing the first symptom of stroke. That time shoots to 48 to 72 hours for children. This delay occurs mostly due to the widespread belief strokes don’t happen to children. Chicken pox, croup, ear infections - - these are the things we associate with sick children. Not stroke. Yet a small but meaningful percentage of children do have strokes and the causes are dramatically different from those in adults.
CAUSES OF CHILDHOOD STROKES. Stroke in adults often can be blamed on high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a history of smoking, too much alcohol and obesity. In contrast, children’s strokes are more often caused by:
infections (e.g. meningitis encephalitis),
blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.
BABIES AND STROKE. Babies who have strokes in the womb or within the first month of life are especially at risk for cerebral palsy. While in the womb, a baby needs oxygen-rich blood so that its brain can develop and grow. When a stroke occurs, the blood and oxygen does not flow to all parts of the brain. This causes brain damage in the growing brain, which can cause cerebral palsy. Also, during and shortly following the delivery, babies can be at risk for stroke if there are problems with the brain getting enough oxygen. This is particularly true in the premature baby.
CHILHOOD STROKE SYMPTOMS ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE OF ADULT STROKE:
A SEVERE HEADACHE – OFTEN THE FIRST COMPLAINT
EYE MOVEMENT PROBLEMS
Use the following tool to help you think F.A.S.T.:
Ask the child to smile.
Does on side of the face droop?
Arms Ask the child to raise both arms.
Does one are drift downward?
Ask the child to repeat a simple sentence.
Are the words slurred? Can the child
repeat the sentence correctly?
If the child shows any of these symptoms,
time is important. CALL 911 OR GET
TO THE HOSPITAL FAST. BRAIN
CELLS ARE DYING.