A seizure can look scary when witnessed for the first time; they are unpredictable and can often occur in a public place. Being able to know what to do while someone is undergoing a seizure can make a huge difference.
It’s important to know there are different types of seizures. A full-blown seizure is where a person’s body jerks and loses consciousness. A seizure can also be mild. The mild version, often known as a petite mal seizure, may take the form of being unable to talk or stare straight ahead. Sometimes the only sign of the seizure is rapid blinking of the eyes. In either case, there are some things you can do to help.
For Any Kind of Seizure:
- Try to time the seizure.
- Protect the person from injury by making sure they are in a cleared space; ease the person to the floor if possible, preferably lying on one side or the other.
- Don’t try to hold a person down, as this could cause injuries to one or both of you.
- Never put anything in the person’s mouth, which can cause choking.
- Take note of specific symptoms such as how the person’s body moved, how the person acted immediately before and after the seizure, and whether any injuries occurred during the seizure.
Once the Seizure Ends:
- Make sure the person is breathing and that his or her heart is beating; if not, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation and have someone call 911.
- Loosen tight clothing around the neck and waist.
- Allow the person to gradually recover consciousness in a safe area. After a seizure, most people will be sleepy or confused and should not try to get up and move around until completely awake and aware of the surroundings.
When to Seek Emergency Help
Minor seizures may not require additional care. A major seizure, however, could be case for concern. While the person who’s had a seizure should always follow up with his or her doctor, you should call for emergency care if:
- The seizure lasts more than five minutes.
- The person having the seizure is pregnant or has diabetes.
- The person has trouble breathing or is not breathing after the seizure stops.
- The person has a fever.
- The person has a seizure after complaining of a sudden, intense headache or suffers a head injury just prior to the seizure.
- When new symptoms occur after a seizure, especially if the person has trouble walking or talking or seems to be having trouble thinking clearly.
- The person does not recover consciousness within 30 minutes or so after the seizure is over.
A seizure can occur after a head injury or with a high fever and does constitute epilepsy. A formal diagnosis of epilepsy requires that the person experience at least two seizures 24 hours or more apart. If you are a bystander, you can help keep the person who suffers a seizure safe with these tips. If you have questions about seizures or think you might have epilepsy, please don’t hesitate to contact Complete Neurological Care today to book an appointment.