There are many reasons that someone might be experiencing a seizure. They may have epilepsy, an allergy, a brain condition or an allergy, and in many cases you won’t even know the cause of the seizure when it occurs. Witnessing someone experiencing a seizure, particularly a loved one, can be a difficult and distressing thing to watch, and it is of course something that you will want to help with as much as you possibly can. This can leave you feeling scared and unable to help, as well as worried that you could make things worse if you did try and help.
What to Do
1. Don’t Panic
The first thing to do is to try and keep as calm as possible – you won’t be able to help if you are panicking and doing so can alarm other people more too. Leave the person where they are, as trying to move anyone having a seizure (or most kinds of medical issues) is a bad idea. Many people seem to be hit by an urge to shout at the person having the seizure or to shake them to try and ‘snap them out of it’. However this is not a conscious decision on their part, and such attempts will not have any effect.
2. Make Them Comfortable
What you can do though is to remove any top buttons or ties they have on to try and ensure they do not restrict their own airways. Another good idea is to keep a cushion behind their head. This will prevent them from banging their head on the floor, and at the same time it will mean that they are pushed slightly forwards which can prevent their tongue from ‘lolling’ into the back of their throat where it can be in danger of causing suffocation (this is something to keep an eye on). Now lie them on one side and try to help them to stay there. This will again help prevent their tongue from choking them and will also encourage fluids to flow out of their mouth (there is no need to try and force the mouth open however as some people try to do).
3. Create a Safe Environment
Another thing to do is to make sure that the immediate area is as safe as possible and ensure that there’s nothing on the floor they can hurt themselves with or cause damage to. If they were to have a seizer in a living room for instance, potential risk items could be tables with items balances on them, fireplaces, sharp toys left on the floor etc. A good move would be to take the cushions off of the sofas and use them to surround the person so that they do not crash into any items.
4. Call for Help
If you are aware that the individual has a condition that causes them to experience seizures regularly, then there is no need to call for an ambulance. However if they have never had one before, or you are unsure, then you should call one to be on the safe side.
5. Stay With Them
Stay with them while the emergency services arrive, or until the seizure is over. During this time look out for signs of choking and try to keep them gently on their side. At the same time you should monitor certain aspects of the seizure such as their eye movements, head movements and how they moved their limbs. All this information can help the health experts to determine the cause and the nature of the seizure.
After the seizure is over you aren’t out of the woods yet. You should continue to monitor the patient after this has occurred in order to check for signs of confusion or disorientation, or any unusual behaviour. This information can again help the doctor to determine the nature of the seizure. It can help to bring them a warm drink with some sugar to help deal with any shock or confusion they may be feeling.