National Epilepsy Awareness Month

Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disease in the nation according to the Epilepsy Foundation. 1 in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point in their lifetime. Seizures can happen to anyone and can occur anytime. The goal for this blog is to explain seizure first aid and what you should do if you experience someone having a seizure.

  1. Always stay with the person until the seizure is over
  • Seizures are unpredictable in nature and it is hard to tell how long they will last or what will occur during them
  • A seizure may lead to loss of consciousness or fall causing another injury
  1. Pay attention to the length of the seizure
  • Time the seizure from beginning to end
  • Time how long it takes the person to recover and return to their usual activity
  1. Stay calm
  • Most seizures only last a few minutes
  • Remaining calm will help the person stay calm as they recover from the seizure
  1. Prevent Injury
  • Move nearby objects out of the way
  • If you can’t more surrounding objects or a person is wandering or confused help steer them clear of dangerous situations
  1. Make the person as comfortable as possible
  • Help them down to a safe place
  • Support the person’s head to keep it from hitting the floor
  1. Do not put anything in the person’s mouth
  • Jaw and face muscles may tighten during a seizure causing the person to bit down
  • If there is an object in the mouth they could be at risk to swallow it or break their teeth
  • A person can’t swallow their tongue during a seizure
  1. Make sure breaking is ok
  • If they are lying down turn them on their side with their mouth pointing to the ground in order to keep saliva and vomit from blocking the airway
  • Rescue breathing or CPR is generally not needing during a seizure
  1. Do not give water, pills, or food by mouth unless the person is fully alert
  • If they are not fully alert they can swallow incorrectly causing things to go into the lungs rather than the stomach
  1. Call for emergency medical help when….
  • The person has never had a seizure before
  • A seizure lasts 5 minutes or longer
  • One seizure occurs right after another without the person gaining consciousness
  • Breathing becomes difficult or the person appears to be choking
  • Seizures occur closer together than normal
  • The seizure occurs in water
  • Injury may have occurred
  • The person asks for medical help

Here are some links for more on seizure safety

-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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