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Health Tips February 12, 2024

Providing Effective Seizure First Aid: What to Do When Someone is Having a Seizure

Medically Reviewed by Pharm. Emmanuella Oladeni

Written by Ella Oladeni

Seizures can be frightening to witness, but understanding how to provide appropriate first aid can make a significant difference in the outcome for someone experiencing one. Whether you're a bystander or a caregiver, knowing the right steps to take during a seizure can help keep the individual safe and minimize potential complications. In this article, we'll explore the essential components of seizure first aid and offer practical guidance on how to assist someone during a seizure episode.

Understanding Seizures:

Seizures can manifest in various forms, from convulsive seizures, where the individual experiences muscle jerking or stiffness, to non-convulsive seizures, which may involve staring spells or altered consciousness. It's essential to recognize the signs of a seizure, which may include sudden loss of consciousness, convulsions, repetitive movements, confusion, or staring blankly into space.

Steps for Seizure First Aid:

Stay Calm: Maintain composure and stay calm. While seizures can be distressing, your calm demeanor can help reassure the individual experiencing the seizure and those around you.

Ensure Safety: Remove any nearby objects that could pose a danger to the person during the seizure. Clear the area of sharp or harmful objects to prevent injury.

Protect the Head: If possible, cushion the individual's head with a soft object to prevent injury, especially if they are convulsing.

Do Not Restrain: Avoid restraining the person unless they are in immediate danger. Let the seizure run its course without trying to hold them down or stop their movements.

Time the Seizure: Note the start time of the seizure. Most seizures last only a few minutes, but prolonged seizures may require medical intervention.

Turn the Person onto their Side: Once the convulsions subside, gently turn the person onto their side to help keep their airway clear and prevent choking on saliva or vomit.

Stay with the Person: Remain with the individual until they regain consciousness or until medical help arrives. Offer reassurance and support as they recover.

Seek Medical Assistance: If it's the person's first seizure, if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or if the person is injured during the seizure, seek medical help immediately.

What Not to Do:

Do not insert anything into the person's mouth during a seizure. Contrary to popular belief, it's unnecessary and can cause harm.

Avoid trying to hold the person down or stop their movements forcefully.

Don't panic or crowd around the person during the seizure. Give them space and ensure a safe environment.

In summary, Being prepared to provide seizure first aid is essential for anyone who may encounter someone experiencing a seizure. By staying calm, ensuring safety, and following the appropriate steps, you can effectively support the individual and help minimize potential risks during a seizure episode. Increasing awareness about seizure first aid empowers communities to respond appropriately and compassionately to those in need.

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