When a seizure occurs

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2 min 33 sec
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So far, throughout this course, we have talked a lot about what a seizure is, and how the risks of having a seizure can be reduced, but we haven’t talked about what to do if someone actually has a seizure. If you see someone start to have a seizure, your first priority actually must be your own safety. If you are compromised then you cannot help them, which can be very dangerous for both of you. Some seizures can be accompanied by the lashing out of limbs which could injure either you or other passers-by, so make sure you're in a safe position before attempting to help them. You should also try and note down the exact time the seizure started, as this will be vital information for not only the person themselves but also the emergency medical services, should they need to be called.

A common misconception that people think you should do if someone has a seizure is to put a spoon in their mouth. There is absolutely no benefit to this, and in fact, it could potentially end up hurting the patient even more. This way of thinking originated from the belief that a person can swallow their tongue during a seizure, which is not the case. The same goes for trying to restrain the person, this should not be attempted. Instead of restraining them, what you can do is loosely support their head, if you can, to prevent it from being bashed against the ground.

Another thing that must be considered is the patient’s dignity. There may be onlookers, some of whom these days may choose to record the incident on their mobile phones. If this occurs, ask them not to, perhaps send them away and ask them to call the emergency services, if you feel this is necessary. Also, in some cases, the patient will lose bladder control, so try and cover that area of their body if it's safe and possible to do so.

Finally, there are a few guidelines relating to the calling of the emergency services, in relation to seizures. Times you should call for an ambulance include: If the patient has not had a seizure before, if the seizure continues for more than 5 minutes, if the patient has repeating seizures, does not come round after the seizure or is injured during the seizure. Also, call if the patient requests it, is pregnant or has any other known medical conditions. Remember that it's always better to dial 999 or 112 if you're unsure, as the operator on the other end of the line is trained in how best to guide you.