Stroke: don’t prick a victim’s fingers to save them


This fake news was already spreading in 2020. Indeed, for several years, a Facebook publication has been revealing “a health tip” which claims to be able to save a person from a cardiovascular cerebrovascular accident (CVA). However, apart from the fact that this method is wrong, it is also dangerous for health.

A false and dangerous rumor that spreads at high speed

“Here’s how to quickly save someone who has just succumbed to a stroke,” writes the author of the publication. Since it was posted on June 10, 2017, this post has gone viral since it is widely relayed by several Facebook pages and accounts. It shows an image of a finger pricked with a needle with a drop of blood. In addition, the photos are accompanied by a long text which details the procedure to follow.

Indeed, it would be a technique from Chinese medicine. “You would have to prick the vertices of all 10 fingers first”, writes the author of the message. “When all ten fingers start to bleed, just wait a few minutes and you will see that the victim will be back to life as if resurrected!” While this fake news was spreading more particularly in African countries, such as Kenya, Ghana or Nigeria, AFP had denied the information in an article in 2020. On the other hand, it had already been contradicted by the New York Times as early as 2006, after circulating in chains of viral emails.

Cardiovascular cerebrovascular accident: a method that could make the situation worse

But while thousands are likely to take this dangerous advice seriously, doctors are adamant: “Pain from injuring one of the most sensitive parts of the body could raise patients’ blood pressure and make stroke worse”, warned Professor Dilraj Singh Sokhi, head of the neurology department at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, interviewed in 2020 by AFP. Besides, there are serious risks of infection for the patient in cases where a needle used is not sterile.

Stroke: what are the signs to recognize?

Every year, approximately 150,000 people suffer a stroke. More than 110,000 of them are hospitalized and 30,000 die. Furthermore, this accident represents the third leading cause of death in men and the first in women. “There are more than 25% of deaths in the three months following a stroke”, says doctor Alexandre Croquelois to Medisite.

As a reminder, a stroke is a medical emergency. It is therefore essential to recognize the symptoms. “They appear depending on the affected area,” neurologist Alexandre Croquelois reminds Medisite. “Some people will therefore have language disorders without necessarily immediately thinking of a stroke, because they do not feel any muscle weakness on one side. The diagnosis then becomes complicated.”

However, some signs should alert you:

  • muscle weaknessWhere paralysis of one or more limbs or of the face, usually on one side of the body. We are talking about hemiplegia.
  • A loss of sensitivity or numbness of one or more limbs or part of the face.
  • Visual field disorderssight, loss of sight in one eye or half of the visual field in each eye (hemianopsia) or double sight (diplopia).
  • the speech disorder, mouth deviation.
  • From difficulty expressing oneself. Either because it is difficult for the person to articulate or find their words, or because of a use of incomprehensible words or a difficulty in understanding what one hears.
  • From balance disorders or coordination of members.
  • Vigilance disorders that can go as far as coma.
  • A sudden and unusual headache.

If you face any of these scenarios, contact immediately on 15 to care for the victim.

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