Many of you have asked what you can do in the event someone you know has a seizure. I am grateful that you would want to know. Here are some tips from the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles:
Seizure First Aid
What to do during the seizure:
It is most important to protect the person from harm during a seizure. Here are some tips:
• Remain calm.
• Stay with the person until the seizure stops.
• Notice what time the seizure starts and stops and what body parts are involved.
• If the person is sitting or standing, gently ease them to the floor. Turn the person onto their side. Keep the person’s head from falling backwards. A soft object may be placed under the head to prevent head injury.
• Loosen tight clothing
• Move tables, chairs, or other hard objects away so that they will not hurt the person. (If objects cannot be removed gently guide person away from them.)
What not to do during a seizure:
• Do not try to open person’s mouth or place anything between their teeth. This could injure his/her gums or break his/hers teeth.
• Do not restrain or try to stop the individual’s movement.
• Do not try to “shake the individual out of it”.
What to watch for:
Some people get a feeling or “aura” before a seizure begins. Muscle twitching, irritability, headache, vision changes or upset stomach may be part of the person’s aura. This is different for each person.
The doctor may want to know what the seizure was like so watch during the seizure. After the seizure, write down what you saw. Look for such things as:
• Where did the seizure start? (hands, arms, legs, eyes)
• Did the seizures stay in one area of the body or did it move to other areas too?
• What type of movements did you see? (jerking, twitching, stiffness)
• How many minutes did the seizure last? (Time the seizures with a watch, if possible.)
• Precipitating/trigger factors
What to do after the seizure
The person may have soiled their pants or vomited. Allow the person to rest after the seizure. They may be very tired and may sleep for a few hours. They may complain of a headache or soreness. If person feels cold, keep them warm with a blanket or coat.
Call the doctor or paramedics if:
• The individual has trouble breathing or skin color becomes bluish. Call 911 for emergency help if needed.
• The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.
• The individual cannot be awakened 30 minutes after the seizure.
• There has been a change in frequency or type of seizure activity.
• The individual has a fever and you don’t know why.