Epilepsy (also called seizure disorder) is a wide topic which includes abnormal and involuntary movements, gestures, speech and behaviors caused by abnormal firing of the neurons in the brain.
This article is mainly based on the generalized (tonic-clonic or grand mal) convulsions; when there is jerking of part or whole of the body, with or without loss of consciousness.
If you find someone having seizures, there are a few things you can do to help them:
*Don’t panic. Remain calm and confident, while you help. Stay with the patient all through and offer gentle reassurance.
*Note the time the convulsion starts. The duration is an important information that can help the physicians in determining the mode of treatment.
*Remove any dangerous object on, or around the patient (like furniture, sharps, etc.) to avoid injury
*Remove anything in the patient’s mouth, such as food and dental prosthetics, to prevent blockage of the airway.
*Secure the patient’s head on a pillow or any other soft material to prevent him from hitting his head on a hard surface and causing head injury.
*Don’t try to move the patient while he is convulsing, rather, wait until he becomes calm or conscious.
*Also, don’t try to restrain the patient. Let him be; except for the head that needs to be secured.
*Don’t put anything in the patient’s mouth. It is common practice for people to insert a finger, spoon and other items in order to separate the gnashing teeth. This is very wrong.
*Don’t give the patient anything to eat or drink while he is convulsing. He may aspirate and die from that.
*If the convulsion lasts longer than 5 minutes or the patient is having multiple convulsions without regaining consciousness fully in-between the convulsions, then you need to call for urgent medical help or move the patient to the nearest emergency room.
*Once the convulsion stops, place the patient in recovery position (see picture below) to prevent the tongue from falling backwards, thereby blocking the airway. This posture is especially important if the patient becomes unconscious after the convulsion.
*Check the breathing and heartbeat, and commence CPR as needed.