"Give Me 5" Campaign to Help Public
Identify Signs of Stroke

March 25, 2008


Help your patients recognize the five signs of stroke–and get them to the ER fast. A new public awareness campaign from the AAN in partnership with the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Stroke Association, and actress/stroke care activist Morgan Fairchild is reaching out to women at risk of stroke and health care professionals.

The "Give Me 5 for Stroke" campaign launches March 26, 2008.

The "Give Me 5" uses easy-to-remember words to help identify the five signs of stroke. The key words are:

  • Walk—is their balance off?
  • Talk—is their speech slurred or face droopy?
  • Reach—is one side weak or numb?
  • See—is their vision all or partly lost?
  • Feel—is their headache severe?

The campaign urges people to say "I think this is a stroke," about themselves or someone they are with, when speaking with a 911 operator, paramedic, triage nurse, or emergency physician, and stresses the importance of getting to the emergency department swiftly.

The campaign coincides with new research released in February showing a tripling in the rate of strokes among middle-aged women, the campaign's targeted audience. "This surge of strokes in middle-aged women in a short period is very alarming," said Ralph L. Sacco, MD, FAAN.

"The important message of the 'Give Me 5' campaign is early identification of stroke symptoms and early intervention by doctors in the emergency department," said Sacco. "That can make the difference between life and death."

The campaign will appear in media outlets, patient brochures, and also through a radio news release featuring Fairchild on radio stations across the country. Campaign materials encourage the public to call a toll-free phone number, 1-888-4STROKE, or visit www.giveme5forstroke.org to obtain more information, brochures, and a giveaway item to help them remember the five signs.

Practices and health care providers can also download and print a PDF to use in call centers, to help educate patients about what to look for if they think they may be having a stroke, and to get to the ER immediately.

Actress Morgan Fairchild cared for her mother, whose first stroke occurred in 1997.

Television, film, and stage star, Fairchild has also played the role of caregiver for her mother, who suffered a series of debilitating strokes that led to her death in 1999. "I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of stroke on my mother," said Fairchild. "Stroke is a killer, but for too many people it doesn't need to be. If you know the warning signs and get medical help right away, you have an excellent chance of making a good recovery".

"Women especially need to know the warning signs, because they account for almost 70 percent of the deaths from stroke," continued Fairchild. "We are also the health information keepers for our families and must spread the word to our siblings, spouses, parents, and friends about how to recognize a stroke."

Visit www.giveme5forstroke.org/healthcare for tools and resources for physicians from all three organizations.

Visit the AAN's Press Room at www.aan.com/go/pressroom to download the press release.