Do you know what epilepsy is? And more precisely, what is an epileptic seizure? Do you live with someone who has epileptic seizures? Do you know how to act in these cases?
In this article we will explain what to do in case of an epileptic seizure. We will answer the questions asked and know the 5 general guidelines for dealing with an epileptic seizure. In addition, we will specifically explain how to act depending on whether the seizure is partially complex or generalized tonic-clonic.
Epilepsy and seizures: what are they?
Epilepsy is a disorder in which the only symptom is recurrent seizures (that is, to be diagnosed, more than one must have occurred). This is why you can suffer from epilepsy and lead a normal life.
Epileptic attacks they are caused by an impaired function of a group of neurons in the brain, Which at one point is hyperactive. In other words, there is an excess of electrical activity in these neurons.
When epileptic seizures appear, there are alterations in the patient’s movements (that is, convulsions: a kind of uncontrolled trembling of the body), in his level of consciousness and in his behavior. These seizures usually last between seconds and minutes (if they last longer than 5 minutes, an emergency call should be made). Once the seizures are over, the brain continues to function normally.
There are two types of seizures: partial (or focal) and generalized. In the first case, a discharge occurs in a specific area of the brain, which can spread to the rest of the cerebral cortex); in the latter, the entire surface of the brain is affected (in addition, they cause loss of consciousness).
What to do in case of an epileptic seizure
But what to do in the event of an epileptic seizure? It is very necessary to know the guidelines of action in the face of an epileptic seizure, especially if we live with a person with epilepsy.
It is known that most epileptic seizures are short-lived and end on their own; that is, we will never have to do anything to stop them. However, there are a number of guidelines, recommendations and precautions that we should apply in the event that a loved one suffers from an epileptic seizure.
These guidelines will help prevent possible complications from the seizure itself and prevent the person from injuring themselves.. There are 5 general guidelines for action, although later we will see what to do in each specific case, depending on the type of seizure:
1. Do not hold the person
It is important not to hold the person who is having the epileptic seizure. Of course we will have to remove the objects that are nearby and with which he can be hit or hurt. That is, we will have to clarify the area where it is located.
2. Put the person aside
The second step or scheme of action on what to do during a seizure is to put the person having the seizure aside, to prevent them from hurting themselves. This will be done as far as possible, never by force in case it cannot be done.
3. Do not put anything in the person’s mouth
It seems obvious, but this point is very important. Nothing should be put in the mouth of the person suffering from the epileptic seizure, No objects, no food, no water, no medicine.
We must not leave the person who is suffering from the crisis alone; we will have to accompany him and be by his side until the crisis ends, the person regains knowledge (in case they have lost it) and recovers.
5. Control the timing of the seizure
It is very important to control exactly how long the epileptic seizure lasts, using a clock or stopwatch. In the event that it lasts more than 5 minutes, we will have to call the emergency department (In Spain it is 112).
According to the type of crisis
As we explained at the beginning of the article, epileptic seizures can be of two types: generalized or partial. What to do during an epileptic seizure depending on the type of seizure? Let’s see:
1. Generalized seizure (tonic-clonic)
When the seizure is generalized of the tonic-clonic type, it means that has two phases: the tonic phase (the seizure begins rigidly at the extremities) and the clonic phase (They seem to be shaking all over the body). It is the most common type of generalized epileptic seizures.
In this case, we will take the following steps:
1.1. Place the person on the ground
first we will help the person to sit well on the floor, To prevent damage.
1.2. Put a pillow under your head
Next, we’ll place a soft, padded object under your head, like a pillow or a folded blanket. This will prevent him from injuring himself on the ground.
1.3. loosen the pieces
Then the next step on what to do in case of a generalized epileptic seizure is loosen the person’s belt (if worn), as well as the tie and possibly appropriate clothing. We will also remove his glasses if he is wearing them.
1. 4. Clarify the object area
We will remove from your environment objects that could harm you, such as sharp objects, sharp objects, etc. We will also remove heat sources that can be burned.
1. 5. Do not put anything in your mouth
As we mentioned in the 5 general guidelines on what to do in case of an epileptic seizure, here we also present the guideline not to put anything in the mouth of the person having the seizure.
1.6. Don’t hold the person
You should also avoid hugging the person so that they do not move. In other words, that is to say you will have to place it on the ground but never hold it or limit its movements.
1.7. let rest
Finally, when the crisis is over, we will have to leave the person lying on their side, so that they can rest for a few minutes and recover. With this position, we will prevent the saliva that the person has accumulated from passing into the lungs or from vomiting.
2. Partial crisis (over)
Instead, what to do with a partial and complex seizure? Remember that this type of seizure, also called focal, starts in a single area of the brain (60% of people with epilepsy suffer from it). In this case, we will follow the same guidelines as above, plus:
- In the event that the person walks aimlessly, we will direct them to areas that are not dangerous.
- We won’t have to face her in case she seems angry or aggressive.
- If at the end of the crisis the person seems disoriented, we will accompany them so that they recover completely.
- Bethesda (2015). Epilepsies and seizures: hope in research. NINDS. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
- Spanish Federation of Epilepsy. (2018). Types of crisis.
- Living with epilepsy. (2019). What to do about an epileptic seizure. First aid.