Healthy Living

What to Do When a Person Is Having an Episode of Seizure: Basic First Aid

What to Do When a Person Is Having an Episode of Seizure: Basic First Aid

Key Takeaways

  • Clinicians have identified that there are more than 30 types of seizures.
  • Some effects are less obvious, while some are very dramatic. 
  • Most people with epilepsy are fully aware of the condition they have.

Epilepsy is a range of conditions that affect the brain’s electrical activity. Although there are many types of epilepsy, most of them are characterized by seizures that are unpredictable. People with epilepsy will experience different symptoms depending on the type of seizure they have. Clinicians have identified that there are more than 30 types of seizures.

With the various types of seizures, their effects are also different, but are also somewhat similar. Some effects are less obvious, while some are very dramatic.

A single episode of seizure is not enough to say that a person has epilepsy. An individual must have two or more unprovoked seizures before he/she can be diagnosed of epilepsy. An unprovoked seizure is caused by natural causes and not by head trauma, toxin, or drugs.  

Most people with epilepsy are fully aware of the condition they have. They may be undergoing treatment like medications and diet to help control the symptoms. Surgery is another form of treatment for epilepsy. 

What will you do if someone is having a seizure?

If someone dear to you or a stranger is having a seizure, there are things that you can do to help them avoid further accidents or injuries. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the following steps may be done:

  • Roll the person over on one side. Doing so prevents the person from choking on saliva or vomit.
  • Ensure that the person’s head is cushioned.
  • Loosen the person’s clothes like the collar, so that the person can breathe without restraint.
  • Keep the person’s airway clear. You may have to do some necessary steps such as gripping the jaw gently and tilting the person’s head slightly backward. These steps can open the airway.
  • Do not restrain the person. Let the seizure pass since it cannot be stopped. However, if the person is at risk of falling, for example, from a staircase, you can hold the person down to avoid further harm.
  • Do not put any object into the mouth. You might be intrigued with this step, but this is a fact. Nothing should be put into the person’s mouth during an episode. No water, objects like spoons and medicine should be given as these can choke them. The thought that people with epilepsy swallow their tongue during a seizure is only a myth.
  • Clear the area from solid or sharp objects.
  • Take note on how long the seizure last. You can also take note of the symptoms you have observed. Your observations can help clinicians later on.
  • Stay and don’t leave the person throughout the seizure.
  • Focus and stay calm. The seizure won’t probably last long.
  • Do not shout or shake the person. Just let the seizure pass.
  • When the seizure stopped and the person gained his consciousness, ask other people to stay back. The person might be embarrassed, tired, or disoriented after the attack.

When to seek medical attention

Not all cases of seizures need immediate medical help. Below are some of the cases where emergency help is needed:

  • Seizure that occurred in the water
  • Unconsciousness person after the seizure
  • High fever
  • A diabetic or pregnant woman
  • A seizure that lasted for more than five minutes.
  • The person stopped breathing after the seizure stopped.
  • A seizure followed by another seizure but the person hasn’t regained consciousness yet.
  • The person harmed himself during the event.

Some people with epilepsy have a medical bracelet, which can identify that the person is known to suffer from seizures.