How To Help Someone Having a Seizure

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Someone Has a Seizure

What Are Seizures and How Can We Help?  

When we think of seizures we visualize a person convulsing and drooling. A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain and can cause changes in behavior, movements and feeling as well in levels of consciousness. There are many types of seizures which vary by where in the brain they begin and how far they spread to how long they last. Some seizures can last from 30 seconds to two minutes, and others can last as long as several minutes. 

Seizures are more common than you may think, and they can happen after a stroke, a head injury, or an infection or illness. A seizure can also be triggered by fever, physical stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and prescribed medications. Seizures can also develop in any person at any age. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, about 1 in 100 people suffer from an unprovoked seizure as it is the fourth most common neurological condition that affects more than 65 million people worldwide. 

Seizures are frightening and can leave witnesses feeling helpless. If you’ve witnessed someone having a seizure and been unaware of how to help them – you’re not alone. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot that you can do to help someone experiencing a seizure, but there are things you can do to reduce threat and injury, and there are general steps to help someone who is having a seizure. 

Types of Seizures and Symptoms to Look Out For 

Most seizures aren’t an emergency and will stop on their own with no permanent effects, but some are more dangerous than others. The following are the two main types of seizures: 

Focal onset seizure

These seizures begin in a single part of the brain. The individual’s arm may have irregular movement, or their face may begin to twitch. It’s an uncontrollable movement and may lead a person to zone out or stare into the distance as the seizure becomes more complex. After this type of seizure, the individual may not remember anything. 

Generalized seizures

These seizures involve multiple areas of the brain at once. When it occurs, the person is rarely aware of what is happening. These are frightening seizures to watch and can be an emergency. 

The sequence of events help determine what kind of seizure a person is experiencing. Any generalized seizure can be dangerous because the person is unaware of their surroundings and cannot protect themselves from harm. The uncontrolled movements during a generalized seizure also increase the chances of injury. 

  • The person may become unresponsive and unreactive. They won’t react if you wave a hand in their face or shake them. This can result in collapsing and fainting. 
  • The person’s muscles tense and clench. This is referred to as a tonic phase and lasts a couple seconds. 
  • A series of jerking movements and thrashing convulse their body. This is referred to as the clonic phase and can last from a few seconds to several minutes. 
  • After a period of time, the jerking and thrashing stops and they regain consciousness. This may leave them confused and disoriented as they struggle to understand what just happened.  

how to help someone having seizures

What To Do When Someone Has a Seizure and What NOT To Do 

Witnessing someone having a seizure can truly be frightening and leave you feeling helpless. But knowing how to spot a seizure in its early stages and knowing how to help as best you can will leave you feeling less helpless. 

Step 1. DON’T put anything in the person’s mouth

Placing an object in a person’s mouth while experiencing a seizure is a myth that has been surfacing the internet for decades. It stems from the belief that the person could bite their tongue when clenching and twitching. According to Kathryn Davis, a neurologist and medical director, this is something you should definitely not do. According to Penn Medicine, the person can clamp down on the object and choke on it. An object will not prevent the person from choking or chewing on their tongue – “it’s unheard of”, according to Dr. Davis. 

Step 2. DO move the person to a safe place

This doesn’t mean moving or carrying the person around, it simply means getting them out of the way of any potential harm or threat. 

For example:

Location: The stairs. 

Threat: If the person experiencing the seizure is on the stairs, they may fall down the stairs and get injured. 

What To Do: Take the person to the platform of the last step and lay them down on their side. 

Location: Pool/Beach

Threat: If the person experiencing the seizure is by water, they face the possibility of drowning. 

What To Do: Make sure the person is able to get air during the seizure. Remove them from the pool or the ocean and place them on their side where water cannot get in the way.

Step 3. DO turn the person onto their side. 

When a person is experiencing a seizure, they may produce a lot of saliva which they could choke on. Turning them onto their side will not only prevent them from choking on their saliva but will help keep their airway preventing their diaphragm from contracting. 

Protect with FOUND ME

Seizures are scary, especially when you learn how common they can be. But there are ways you can help protect yourself and others with FOUND ME. An emergency bracelet with a unique QR code can give you or a paramedic crucial information about the individual experiencing a seizure.

Information such as blood type, allergies, diabetes, height and weight can all be accessible within seconds by simply scanning the code. It’s up to the owner of the bracelet to determine how much information they would like to provide without requested permission, making all of your personal and medical information as confidential as you see fit. 

FOUNDME is a global company. Language barriers are no longer barriers, as the automated chat is automatically translated into the language set on your device. This means that if you happen to experience a seizure in a foreign country during a vacation or business trip, the scanner will be able to read information about you in their own language. 

When a FOUND ME emergency bracelet is scanned, it automatically notifies up to five of your emergency contacts, letting them know that you are in danger. The scanner can then click a button letting you and other notified family members your exact and current location by dropping a pin. 

You can learn more about FOUND ME and how it can help you in cases of emergencies.

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