Have you ever went to events that feature bright blinking lights, and you saw warning signs that these lights might cause epileptic seizures? Well, there’s a good reason those signs are there in the first place. Treating someone currently having a seizure episode is easier said than done. Even though not everyone has ever experienced a seizure, it can still happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any given time.
When someone is having a seizure, they might feel vulnerable, desperate, and scared for their own lives. Thus, we must help individuals by discerning early warning signs of a seizure and what we can do when an epileptic episode is about to happen. Applying first aid at home and in public places is paramount in minimizing injuries.
What Is a Seizure, and Is It Serious?
Epilepsies are a disorder that affects a person’s nervous system and is one of the most common neurological disorders caused by anomalies in the brain’s structure. These abnormalities are the main causes of recurring epileptic seizures. Contrary to what most individuals think, there is no definite symptom of a seizure, and episodes might vary depending on the seizure type.
Although some symptoms are quite different among individuals with seizures, common symptoms include:
- Sudden changes in their senses
- Extreme muscle twitching
- Falling to the ground
- Staring into empty space
Is it serious? All types of seizures are serious since this can cause widespread bodily harm if they are not given proper attention. Some forms of injuries include falling into a hard surface when a seizure occurs, “accidentally” biting their tongue, muscle cramps, spasms, and sometimes even a gradual loss of consciousness.
There might be instances that epilepsy happens in places where most people do not expect it to happen. In some cases, epilepsies can happen on stairwells, balconies, and elevated areas. These areas can be potential fall hazards if a seizure is happening. Most medical experts would suggest installing timber balustrades as a way of providing extra safety towards epilepsy-stricken individuals.
There’s a common misconception that seizures can only happen to a select group of people when, in reality, it can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, and demographic. Studies have shown that the risk of getting epilepsy is more common among children, adults in their middle age, and adult men.
It’s important to note that seizure episodes do not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. Most people can be diagnosed with epilepsy when there are seizures that can happen without any external causes.
What Causes It?
The cause of epilepsy and seizures is quite broad. But epilepsy is known to be caused by past trauma to the head.
There are also several factors that can cause epilepsy:
- Pre-natal health complications, such as brain injury and poor nutrition
- Head trauma
- The proliferation of tumors, stroke, and congenital defects to the central nervous system
- Infections in the brain
- Several forms of developmental disorders such as autism and cerebral palsy
There are also some external factors that can trigger seizures, with most being:
- Disturbed pattern in sleeping
- Fatigue from lack of sleep
- Mental and physical stress
- Substance abuse
- Lack of medical attention
Our bodies are designed to adapt to any known environment and can usually handle any task without a problem. But at the same time, our bodies are also unique in their own way that we tend to handle different situations in different ways. When we are dealing with epilepsy, we have to follow a process when we are applying first aid. While epilepsy in itself isn’t really fatal, it can still lead to severe injuries when it happens in the most unlikely situations.
Here’s what you can do:
- Stay calm and assess the situation.
- Stay with the person and provide support until the seizure ends.
- If you are in a public place, advise others to give the individual enough space while also removing any hazardous objects around the area.
- The first thing to check is if the person is breathing. You will need to turn these individuals to their side with their mouth facing the ground. This will keep saliva out of any essential airways.
- Stay with the person until they have regained consciousness. Usually, a seizure that is considered a tonic-clonic will last one to three minutes.
- Inform the person of what happened calmly and comfort them when needed.
Epilepsy can be an overwhelming experience, and nobody wants to live with it. Not only is it stressful, but it can also be frightening for a lot of individuals involved. Unpredictable episodes of seizure can happen at any time, so it’s only important we know some key ways of administering first aid to those affected.
Still, it’s important to remember that professional and medical aid is still the best way of providing safety to these individuals.