Watching an individual experiencing an epileptic seizure can be distressing. It is vital that you are prepared to help out an individual experiencing a seizure episode to minimize the anxiety and diminish the stigma linked with epilepsy.
First aid care for a seizure
Always stay calm
It is likely that the individual experiencing a seizure loses consciousness or at least could not communicate. It is possible that the scenario occurs abruptly in an undesirable situation. By staying calm, it can help take the appropriate action and guide anyone who might be in the area.
Clear up the space
There are cases in which a seizure can cause the individual to thrash about while other types are short and manifest as a staring spell. You can minimize head injuries to the individual by clearing the area. In addition, if the individual is experiencing a grand mal seizure, it is ideal to turn the individual on his/her side.
Check for identification
In case you come upon a stranger or friend you did not know had epilepsy, it is vital to check if he/she has an ID. This can come in the form of a necklace, bracelet, keychain or a wallet card. Some individuals who have epilepsy can experience uncontrollable seizures which includes details such as the type of seizure, medications taken, his/her own name and emergency contact name and numbers.
Calling for help if needed
Remember that it is not always needed to call for emergency assistance once an individual experiences a seizure. In a school or work setting, it is fine to call even if the individual does not need it.
In case a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, there is a risk for the seizure to progress to status epilepticus which is considered life-threatening. It is vital to monitor the time as the seizure progresses. If the individual is at home or with family members who are familiar with the seizure pattern, it might not be needed to call for emergency assistance.
Once the individual wakes from the seizure, he/she is usually confused. The individual is in the post-ictal state and can take a few minutes for the individual to become re-oriented to his/her location, present date and who you are. Remember that this can be frustrating and stressful, thus the following can help:
- If possible, speak in a quiet voice
- Remind the individual where you are, why you are there and who you are
- Inform the individual what happened