While epileptic seizures are not always an emergency, a person may need professional help if these seizures last for more than 5 minutes. Seizures or convulsions due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain can occur at any age resulting in uncontrollable motor activity and loss of consciousness and one in ten people will have a seizure at least once in life, with most seizures occurring at home, work or develop in the office. pinch point.
Seizures are of many types and most seizures end within a few minutes or sometimes can be longer, but even though it may seem alarming, immediate help can help the person having the seizures. Therefore, to prevent the risk of harm to an epileptic patient, people need to know important first aid steps they can take immediately before medical help arrives.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr. Kenny Ravish Rajeev, Consultant – Neurology & Epileptology, at Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore, suggested that in order to save an epileptic patient from any kind of accident, you can take the following steps –
- Create an open space to enable the patient to breathe properly
- Make the person comfortable by loosening any tight clothing around their neck.
- Remove any sharp objects such as glass, mirrors or furniture that could cause injury to the person.
- Offer support by staying with the person until the episode is over and placing a pillow or towel under them to prevent them from hurting themselves.
- Track seizure time and share details with doctor. A typical seizure lasts between 20 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Look for emergency contacts in the person’s bag or wallet to reach their family members.
- Avoid holding anything between his jaws or giving him anything to drink until the person has fully recovered.
- Once the person’s movements have stopped, try to clear the airway by turning the person on their side. This step is important because during a seizure the patient’s tongue retracts and blocks their breathing. Therefore, once you turn the person on their side, you should try to keep their jaw in a forward direction as this will help ensure proper breathing and keep any food or vomit out of their mouth after the seizure should be thrown out.
Talking about when you should call a doctor, he said, “The signs and symptoms of a seizure can range from mild to severe, however, these symptoms tend to subside within a few minutes.” He revealed that if you are noticing that these symptoms last for more than 5 minutes, then you can call an ambulance based on the following symptoms –
- If the patient is having a second seizure, immediately
- If the person is unresponsive after a seizure
- If the patient is having high fever or heat exhaustion after the attack
- People with other medical conditions like diabetes or pregnant women are more susceptible, and you should go to the nearest hospital if you come in contact with such a patient.
According to Dr Kranti Mohan, Consultant Neurologist at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, Bengaluru, these are the things to ‘do’ and help the patient with any type of seizure:
- Keep yourself and others calm.
- Lay the person on the floor and gently roll onto one side. This will help the person to breathe.
- Remove any hard or sharp objects from the area around the person. Injuries can be avoided by this.
- Place something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his head.
- Remove glasses, loose ties, or anything around the neck that could make breathing difficult.
- Note the timing of the seizure and call for an ambulance if it is longer than 5 minutes.
- Stay with the patient until the seizure is over or the person is fully awake and conscious.
- Comfort the person and calmly explain what happened in simple terms.
- Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
- Offer to call a taxi or someone else to make sure the person gets home safely.
The health expert stressed that people “shouldn’t” do the following things when helping someone who is having a seizure:
- Do not hold the person down or try to stop their movements.
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can cause injury to the teeth or jaw. A person having a seizure cannot swallow his tongue.
- Do not attempt mouth-to-mouth breathing (such as CPR). People usually start breathing again on their own after a seizure.
- Do not give water or food to the person until he is fully conscious.
Dr. Kranti Mohan recommended taking the patient to the nearest hospital or calling an ambulance if the person:
- Never had a stroke before.
- Difficulty breathing or waking up after a seizure.
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- Repeated seizures immediately after the first seizure.
- Sustained injury during seizures.
- If there is a stroke in the water.
- Have co-morbidities like diabetes, heart disease or are pregnant.
Lastly, for epileptic patients, Dr. Kranti Mohan recommends following these points to avoid seizures:
- Don’t forget to take your medicine.
- maintain regular sleep cycles and exercise
- Avoid head injury and fall.
- Get regular checkups done if you have fever.
- Avoid flashing lights.
- Avoid driving, swimming and going to altitude.