Seeing someone having a seizure can be shocking. For people who have epilepsy, however, a seizure isn’t always a major emergency. Epilepsy causes the brain’s electrical rhythms to become imbalanced, causing the signals to suddenly burst. This is what leads to an epileptic seizure.
Fortunately, seizures can be treated and managed with maintenance medication. However, epilepsy patients who forget to take their medications may experience more frequent or severe attacks and place themselves in danger.
If you see a stranger or loved one having a seizure, frantically searching for “gamot sa epilepsy” on Google won’t make the situation any better. To ensure that the patient doesn’t hurt themselves or others during a seizure, apply the following first aid measures:
Stay with the Person Who’s Having a Seizure
The minute you see someone having a seizure, the first thing you have to do is to never leave their side. People who are experiencing seizures can’t control the muscles in their body, so they can drop to the ground unexpectedly and put themselves in harm’s way. Having someone watching over them ensures their safety. Just remember to stay calm to avoid injuring the patient and yourself.
Keep the Person Safe
The next thing you want to do is make sure that the patient is safe. If the person is having a seizure in a crowded area, have people clear the area and give the patient some space. Next, remove anything that could cause injury (e.g., chairs, tables, and potted plants) from the vicinity, so the patient won’t accidentally hurt themselves.
It’s also a good idea to loosen their garments and any accessory around the neck that can restrict their breathing. In addition, removing hand jewelry like rings and bracelets can prevent the patients from scratching their face. To protect the back of their head, find something soft to cushion it. Finally, reassure the patient that you’ll stay with them until they recover.
Depending on the exact place where the epileptic attack is happening, however, the steps to keeping the patient safe will differ. For example, if the person is having a seizure in a wheelchair, leave them seated with the seatbelt on and engage the wheelchair’s brakes. Then, support their head until the seizure has ended. The only time you should unlock the seatbelt and remove the person from their wheelchair is if the wheelchair is causing injury.
If the person is having a seizure in the water, such as in a swimming pool, support their head to keep their face out of the water. Tilt their head back to ensure that they get a clear airway and remove them from the water ASAP. You can also use floatation devices to make the rescue operation easier. Once the patient is out of the water, place them on their side and check to see if they’re breathing. While this is going on, have someone call for an ambulance immediately.
Turn the Person on Their Side
After the seizure has subsided, make sure to gently turn the patient onto their side. This will help them breathe easier after their epileptic attack. Some people also become nauseated after having a seizure, and turning them onto their side ensures that they won’t vomit all over themselves.
Make Sure They are Okay Before You Leave
It may take time for the patient to fully realize that they’ve had a seizure, so it’s best to stay with them until they’ve fully recovered from it. Your reassurance can help them feel safe and spare them from the overwhelming feeling of having a seizure in public. During this time, you can ask them if they have a family or friend who can pick them up or accompany them from here on out. Offer to make the call and wait until their family member or friend arrives before you leave.
When Is the Right Time to Call for an Ambulance?
It was mentioned earlier that most people with epilepsy don’t consider seizures to be full-blown emergencies. However, there are some situations wherein calling for professional medical assistance is a must. If you encounter the following when helping someone who’s having a seizure, call for an ambulance immediately:
- The seizure lasts for five minutes or more
- The person having a seizure is injured, sick, or pregnant
- The patient is having trouble breathing
- Another seizure happens right after the first one and the person hasn’t regained consciousness
- The patient does not return to their normal state
- If it’s the person’s first seizure
- If the person having a seizure asks for medical help
People with epilepsy can experience seizures unexpectedly