It seems there are so many more people having and being diagnosed with seizures than ever before. Many times, we have needed to make an appointment for one of our patients and the neurologist did not have an opening for months. All neurologist are heavily booked with an overabundance of patients. Just in the last two years, two of my close friends have had seizures.
It is always advisable to know what to do in the event of someone we love or know when they are having a seizure.
To help clarify the best aids for seizure here are some tips:
- Be sure you or your loved one carries a medical ID so those around can help to keep you safe and provide the correct treatment quickly.
- Your family, friends, and co-workers should know what to do if you would have a seizure.
- All potential dangers of high places or moving machinery should be avoided, especially if your seizures are not under control.
- Stay active but choose your spots wisely. If seizures are well controlled, for the most part, you can lead a normal life.
- Do not suddenly stop taking any anticonvulsant medications you may be using. Consult first with your doctor as the type of medication depends on the type of epilepsy you have and the dose is determined by weight, age, gender, etc.
- Keep yourself alert to the risks of possible drug interactions with your medication.
- Be sure to avoid alcohol as it might interfere with the effectiveness of your medication and may lower the brain’s seizure threshold.
What should we all know about helping someone who is having a seizure?
- You should first loosen the clothing around the neck; do not hold them down or restrain them.
- No objects should be inserted in the person’s mouth. Be sure to remove all sharp objects to prevent injury.
- Lay the person on their side to maintain an open airway and prevent the person from inhaling any secretions after the seizure.
- You may find the person confused and they should not be left alone.
- It is usually not necessary to call 911 if the person is known to have epilepsy, but do call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or if another seizure begins soon after the first.
- If they cannot be awakened after the movements have stopped, be sure to call 911, or if there is something else that may be wrong as having another medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes.
For a child with generalized seizures move them away from hard, sharp or hot objects and place something under their head with them turned on one side to keep airway clear. Do not hold their tongue down or restrain movement. Observe the child care if they are having a Petit Mal and count and record episodes.
If the child is frightened, reassure him or her and follow the above instructions. If having a partial seizure speak calmly to the child and guide him/her to a safe place and stay close until the seizure has ended. With a Myoclonic seizure, speak calmly to the child and again, guide him/her to a safe place and stay close until seizure has ended. With Myoclonic Jerks reassure the child and check for injury from the fall. Comfort the child with an Atonic seizure and check for injury. Look for clusters of attacks with Infantile Spasms and comfort the child when an attack occurs.
Hopefully these hints of how to care for a family member or friend who has a seizure will better help you to understand and care for them.
Dr Fredda Branyon