Your Guide to Responding to Seizures

Seizures, often associated with epilepsy, are neurological events that can be frightening and overwhelming for both the person experiencing the seizure and those around them. Recognizing the signs of a seizure and knowing how to respond with empathy and effectiveness is crucial for ensuring the individual's safety and well-being. In this guide, we'll explore the world of seizures, offering insights into recognizing different types of seizures and providing compassionate assistance when they occur.

Understanding Seizures:

Seizures occur due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. They can manifest in various ways, ranging from subtle to dramatic.

Common Types of Seizures:

  • Focal Seizures: These seizures originate in a specific area of the brain and can cause unusual sensations, emotions, or movements. The person may appear dazed or confused.
  • Generalized Seizures: These seizures affect the entire brain and lead to loss of consciousness and convulsions. They include tonic-clonic seizures (previously known as grand mal seizures) characterized by stiffening and jerking.

Recognizing the Signs:

  • Altered Awareness: The person may become unresponsive or exhibit strange behaviors.
  • Muscle Twitching: Involuntary muscle movements, such as twitching or jerking, may occur.
  • Loss of Consciousness: The person may lose consciousness or awareness of their surroundings.
  • Changes in Sensation: Unusual sensations like tingling, flashing lights, or déjà vu may precede a seizure.

Providing Assistance:

Stay Calm:

Protect the Individual:

  • Gently guide the person away from hazards to prevent injury. Clear any sharp or dangerous objects nearby.

Time the Seizure:

  • Note the duration of the seizure. If it lasts longer than 5 minutes, or if another seizure follows without full recovery, seek medical help.

Cushion the Head:

  • Place a soft object, like a folded jacket or cushion, under the person's head to protect them from hitting the ground.

Turn to the Side:

  • If possible, turn the person onto their side to prevent choking on fluids.

Do Not Hold Down:

  • Avoid holding the person down or trying to stop their movements. Seizures are involuntary, and attempts to restrain can cause harm.

Offer Reassurance:

  • Speak calmly and reassuringly. Your presence can provide comfort when the person regains awareness.

Time the Recovery:

  • After the seizure ends, note the time. Some people experience a postictal state of confusion or fatigue.

When to Seek Medical Attention:

  • For a first-time seizure.
  • If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • If another seizure occurs without full recovery.
  • If the person is injured, pregnant, or has diabetes.
  • If the person has difficulty breathing or recovers slowly.

Embracing Empathy and Understanding:

Seizures can be emotionally challenging for the individual and their loved ones. Offering support, empathy, and understanding is as important as the physical assistance you provide.

Educate Yourself:

Learning more about the person's specific type of seizures and needs can help you be better prepared to assist and offer comfort.

In Conclusion:

Recognizing and responding to seizures with compassion and competence makes a significant difference in the experience of the person having the seizure. By understanding the various types of seizures, providing appropriate assistance, and offering emotional support, you become a valuable ally in their journey towards well-being. Remember, your presence and care can be a beacon of light in moments that might otherwise feel overwhelming.

 CPR + First Aid Certification

Back to blog