First Aid for Epilepsy and Seizures

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A seizure (also known as a fit or convulsion) occurs when there is an electrical disturbance in the brain. There are many different types of seizures and can be brought on by many things, an injury to the head, stress to the brain can cause fitting, lack of oxygen to the brain or a raised body temperature. It is estimated that 1 in 20 people will have a fit during their lives.

During the seizure the casualty will lose consciousness as they fall to the ground, their body goes stiff and rigid and they may cry out. They also begin to jerk violently as the muscles relax and tighten. During the seizure, breathing becomes difficult and you may see the casualty appear blue around their mouth and in some cases they may lose control of their bladder and bowel.

What to do:

  • Make sure the casualty is safe. So, move objects such as furniture away from the casualty to prevent further injury.
  • Cushion or protect their head with a blanket or pillow without restraining them
  • Loosen any tight clothes
  • Record the length of the seizure
  • Stay with the casualty and reassure them throughout the seizure
  • Move any other people away protecting the casualty’s dignity
  • Be suspicious of cardiac arrest and continue to check for normal breathing

Call 999/112 for an ambulance if:

  • It is their first seizure
  • The seizure lasts for over 5 minutes
  • They have several fits
  • They have injuries
  • You are worried at all

Do not:

  • Restrain the casualty
  • Place anything in the casualty’s mouth during the seizure
  • Try to move them unless they are in immediate danger

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