A seizure happens when there is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. As a result, change in behavioural, movement and levels of consciousness may follow suit. A person having a seizure may seem confused or look like they are staring at something that isn’t there (absence seizure/ petit mal seizure). Other seizures can cause a person to fall, shake, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.
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Often times, the cause of the seizure is unknown. But we know that seizure can happen after a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, brain infection such as meningitis etc.
When a person has two or more seizures or has a tendency to have recurrent seizures in the future, the doctor would diagnose the person as having epilepsy. In other words, epilepsy is an umbrella term used for a brain disorder that results in seizures. As with seizures, epilepsy also has many different types.
Depending on the severity of epilepsy, most of the epilepsy patients take medicines treatment to control the abnormal electrical signals within the brain, thereby controlling their seizures.
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A seizure is common - it was known that about 1 out 10 of people may develop a seizure during their lifetime. That means one day you might need to help someone during or after a seizure.
Stay with the person until the seizure ends and he or she is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms.
Comfort the person and speak calmly.
Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
Keep yourself and other people calm.
Offer to call a taxi or another person to make sure the person gets home safely.
However, some epilepsy patient may experience what is called a generalised tonic-clonic seizure (grand mal seizure), which the person may cry out, fall, shake or jerk, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.
Ease the person to the floor.
Turn the person gently onto one side. This will help the person breathe.
Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. This can prevent injury.
Put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make it hard to breathe.
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The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes. Hence it is useful to keep track of the duration of the seizure.
You know this is the person’s first seizure.
The person has one tonic-clonic seizure after another without regaining consciousness between seizures
The person got injured during the seizure.
You believe the person needs urgent medical attention.
Image credit: Young Epilepsy
Do not hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements.
Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can injure teeth or the jaw. A person having a seizure cannot swallow his or her tongue.
Do not try to give mouth-to-mouth breaths (like CPR). People usually start breathing again on their own after a seizure.
Do not offer the person water or food until he or she is fully alert.
Do not try to move them unless they are in danger.
Image credit: Cleaveland Clinic
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