Seizures occur due to excessive, uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. It causes sudden involuntary alterations in movement, consciousness or behavior. Usually, a seizure attack lasts for a two to three minutes. First aid for seizures focuses on ensuring the safety of the victim, especially preventing head injuries.
Although seizures are most commonly related to high-grade fever, they may also be caused by a number of conditions such as brain tumors, head injuries, infectious disease, inadequate brain development, poisoning, and certain genetic disorders. It may also be caused by lupus, Alzheimer’s Disease, alcohol withdrawal or alcohol abuse, stoke, kidney failure, and other diseases. However, in about 50 percent of all seizures, the exact cause could not be identified.
Some people may be diagnosed with epilepsy – a brain disorder that is characterized by recurrent seizures. Epilepsy is characterized by generalized seizures or partial seizures. Individuals diagnosed with epilepsy are often given anti-seizure medications to prevent attacks.
In most cases of epileptic seizure, the person would normally require first aid for seizures but not necessarily expertise of emergency medical services. However, it is important to keep the person safe and to ensure open airway.
Signs and symptoms of seizure
• A preceding aura or warning, possible
• Rhythmic jerking of the body or complex partial seizure/convulsion
• Loss of consciousness or responsiveness, but with eyes generally remaining open
• Loss of bladder control, possible
• Sudden changes in breathing patterns
• After the attack, a transition to the victim’s normal state; it may last for a few seconds to several hours and may involve combative behavior
Some people may develop localized abnormal movements in the limbs, sudden stiffening of the body without jerking motions, or periods of staring.
First aid for seizures
• Clear the surroundings of any harmful objects, assist the person down the floor, and cushion the head.
• Loosen scarves, ties or other accessories around the neck.
• Do not restrain the person.
• Do not put anything in the person’s mouth.
• If the person is vomiting and after the convulsion stops, place the person on his left side to drain the fluids and prevent aspiration.
• Make sure the person is breathing and airway is open. If the person stops breathing, call emergency medical services immediately and initiate rescue breathing.
• Observe direction of head and eye movements, duration of seizure, movements involved, and the time it takes for the person to regain full consciousness. Report it to the medical professional.
Call emergency services (911) immediately if:
• Seizure lasts for more than five minutes, or becomes recurrent.
• The person sustains injuries due to the seizure.
• The person experiences difficulty of breathing.
• The person has fever.
• The person remains unconscious or experiences persistent confusion.
• The person is a diabetic, pregnant or has other underlying life-threatening conditions.
• It is the first time for the person to have a seizure.
First aid for seizures can do so much to keep the person safe.