Healthbeat 4: Siouxland 5th graders learn about stroke awareness - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: Siouxland 5th graders learn about stroke awareness


During the month of May, Mercy Medical Center's Shannon Patton and Nicole Shea -- along with stroke survivors -- have been educating area fifth graders how to recognize, prevent and the effects of a stroke. The students ask questions of survivors to better understand how a stroke impacts a person. 

"A lot of them will ask, what did it feel like having a stroke, is it hard to deal with the effects of having a stroke," said Shannon Patton, Mercy Medical Center's Community Education Coordinator, "So they are very compassionate and considerate of the effects of stroke and the disabilities that our stroke survivors have to endure."

To be able to recognize a stroke Mercy teaches the acronym B.E. F.A.S.T. B stands for balance, E for eyes,F stands for face, A is for arm, S is for speech and T stands for time. Another part of the lesson is how to prevent a stroke. 

According to the American Stroke Association 87% of all strokes occur when plaque buildup reduces blood flow to the brain caused by high blood pressure.

Patton says they educate the kids how to avoid having high blood pressure by getting 60 minutes of activity a day, eating right and not smoking. 

"What a huge risk factor smoking can be for high blood pressure, hyper tension which all leads to a high risk for stroke," said Patton. 

 The students participated in exercises that showed them the struggles of everyday tasks that a stroke survivor faces.

"They try to put a belt on, they try to put shoes and socks on all with one hand," said Patton, "And they have shown how difficult it is to do those things and a lot of them think this is going to be easy and not a problem they do something once and think they can do it. However, after talking about it and doing several different simulations they realize it is really hard and it's not something you want to live with."

Patton and Shea they teach fifth graders because they are responsible enough to understand the signs and call 9-1-1.

In total, Mercy visited with more than 450 fifth graders this month and hope to continue to grow this program next year. 

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