How to Help Someone With a Seizure
Epilepsy is more common than you might think – 1 in 26 people will be diagnosed in their lifetime – and seizures can also occur for other reasons. In total, 1 in 10 people will have a seizure at some point in their lives. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, here’s what to do if you get there when it happens.
There are three words to remember: “Stay, safe, on the side.”
Stay with the man
You saw the onset of the seizure, or you may have found the person after the seizure started. Stick to them to make sure they are safe and so you can tell them (and possibly the first responders) what happened. Time your seizure if you can, and call 911 if it lasts more than five minutes.
Remain calm and speak encouragingly so that they return to a friendly voice. In the meantime, check to see if the person has a medical certificate (either on the phone or using another means, such as a health alert bracelet).
Keep them safe
A person with a seizure can be injured if dropped or bumped, so make sure they are in a safe environment. If they are walking or wandering, take them to a safe place. If they appear to fall, gently lower them to the ground if you can safely do so. Try to clear the area of furniture, sharp objects, or anything that could be dangerous.
No one wants to wake up surrounded by a crowd, so stop one or two passers-by in case you need help and straighten the rest.
Don’t hold back the man
This will not stop the seizure and may increase the likelihood of hurting yourself or others. The Foundation notes: “During the seizure, people do not fight on purpose. But if held back when they are confused, they can respond aggressively. ”
And certainly don’t put anything in your mouth
There is a myth that a person can swallow their tongue; it won’t happen. They may bite their tongue, which can be painful, but putting something in their mouth to prevent it will do more harm than good. They can break a tooth or swallow an object. It is also not safe to give food, water, or medicine.
Flip them on their side
If the person is not awake and aware, make sure they feel comfortable. The foundation suggests loosening tight clothing and putting something soft under your head. By turning the person on their side with the mouth pointing downward, saliva can prevent airway blockage and make breathing easier.
What to do next
When waking up, a person may be confused, scared, or embarrassed. Tell them what happened and offer to stay with them until they get home or call a friend. If you call 911, stay close to help.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, these are the signs that you need to call emergency help:
- The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.
- Repeated seizures
- Labored breathing
- Capture takes place in water
- The person is injured, pregnant or sick
- The person does not return to their normal state
- First attack
- Man seeking medical help
There are different types of seizures , and the best response to each may differ slightly. Some people can do life-saving therapy . But if you don’t know what’s going on, just that the person is having a seizure, the advice here is a good rule of thumb. As with any emergency, seek medical attention if you are concerned that this person is in danger.