A seizure is a sudden eruption of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells. The condition occurs when there is an interruption between the brain and nerve cell connections. There are many causes of this hyperactivity of the brain. The main ones include alcohol withdrawal, high fever, low blood sugar, or a concussion. Sometimes seizures happen without a known cause.
When the condition’s cause is unknown, the person is likely to get a diagnosis of epilepsy. It is vital to understand the symptoms of seizures to identify and assist someone getting an attack. The initial help received is crucial to saving a life, and knowing first aid for seizures is particularly essential. Understanding the signs of seizures is the first step in providing requisite assistance.
- Understand the Signs of a Seizure
There are two main types of seizures. The first type is the focal onset seizure which begins at one part of the brain. The attack starts as an isolated twitching or uncontrolled motion that develops into a complex convulsion.
The second type of seizure is the generalized one, which makes the person unresponsive to any external stimuli when the attack begins. The victim then clenches their muscles and becomes rigid. The rigidity progresses to jerking and convulsive movements until the person regains consciousness.
Knowing the cause of the seizure helps to stabilize the victim. Low blood sugar-induced seizures are manageable by providing orange juice to the victim to raise their blood sugar. It is critical to avoid putting anything in the person’s mouth when having the episode, however. You can only provide the drink when the victim is fully alert.
- Stay with Them
Staying with the person having a seizure comforts them. Although the victim may not be responsive, they are still conscious and in need of soothing support. In some instances, the attack is unexpected or may be a first-time attack. If you feel that the attack could be an emergency or are unsure of what to do, it is imperative to call for help or dial 9-1-1 immediately to access medical attention.
- Help Them to the Floor
At the onset of the seizure, you should help the person gently to the floor and place them on their side in a recovery position. This action prevents injury because the jerking motions can cause them to hit nearby objects or hit the ground too hard. The side placement also keeps their airway open.
It is critical not to restrain the person as they have convulsions. Restraining can cause more damage to them and also puts you at risk of being hurt. You should remove any nearby objects that can restrain sudden movements.
- Clear the Area
Seizures are associated with uncontrollable spastic movements. The person having an attack becomes susceptible to body injuries as a result of erratic motion. If you are in a crowded or cluttered space, try to clear the room to avoid bodily harm.
Remove fragile objects or potentially dangerous items within proximity of the victim to avoid any damages. You should be conscious of things like food and drinks which should be at bay to prevent nasty accidents. If the person is wearing glasses, remove them because they are likely to break during convulsions.
- Offer Some Comfort
You should provide comfort to a person having seizures by making their environment comfortable. Some actions count, e.g., placing blankets or pillows around them to prevent hurting themselves during an attack. If such items are not readily available, you could put a jacket or sweater under their head to cushion them from hitting the floor.
You can also loosen any ties or buttons around their throat to help increase the airway flow for easier breathing. Such actions quicken the recovery from the attack and make the victim comfortable.
- Seek Medical Help
Seeking medical help is a desirable precautionary action, particularly when the situation degenerates. If a seizure lasts more than five minutes, you should call 9-1-1. You can also call the helpline if unsure of actions to take. There will be a paramedic to walk you through a help procedure.
If the cause of the seizure is unknown, or you need further medical assistance, schedule an appointment with a doctor for guidance. A health professional will help you to prevent the attacks or minimize their risk.
Save a Life
Knowing how to help someone having a seizure can save a life. An episode attack endangers the victim’s life due to the severity of the condition and the harmful physical environment around them. As Mayo Clinic indicates, the rule of the thumb is to ensure patient safety and seek medical attention—such actions are known to save lives.