Emergency: Epileptic Fit - First Aid

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Emergency: Epileptic Fit - First Aid
Emergency: Epileptic Fit - First Aid

Video: Emergency: Epileptic Fit - First Aid

Video: Emergency: Epileptic Fit - First Aid
Video: What To Do If Someone Has A Seizure - First Aid Training - St John Ambulance 2023, May

Emergency: epileptic fit

Epilepsy is a neurological disease that causes temporary dysfunction of the brain. One speaks of epileptic seizures. These can manifest themselves in different ways: the symptoms range from brief changes in perception or taste to twitching of the face and abnormal behavior to severe seizures that affect the whole body. In the latter, awareness is also limited.

Seizures don't always have to be related to epilepsy. They can also be caused by other neurological diseases (e.g. brain tumors, cerebral hemorrhage) as well as alcohol withdrawal or poisoning.


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How does a seizure manifest itself?

A generalized seizure, which affects the whole body, is the most severe form of an epileptic seizure. The typical symptoms are:

  • Unconsciousness,
  • Fall,
  • Cramps all over the body,
  • Twitching of the arms and legs,
  • possibly stool and urine loss,
  • possible salivation or leakage of blood from the mouth (caused by a bite of your tongue or cheek).

Typically such an attack lasts about two minutes. The person concerned then regains consciousness, but is confused, disoriented or very sleepy.

In rarer cases, an attack lasts longer without the person concerned regaining consciousness, which is called status epilepticus. In this situation there is an increased risk of consequential damage due to lack of oxygen or injuries. Quick action is required to ensure rapid medical care.

Other, sometimes less noticeable, signs can also indicate an epileptic seizure:

  • the person affected suddenly stares in front of him without moving and cannot be addressed
  • Sudden, strange behaviors that the person concerned does not notice anything (e.g. loud smacking noises)
  • Trembling of arms, twitching of face.

The symptoms can appear together or alone. More on the topic: epilepsy

How can I provide first aid?

If you observe someone having a seizure, the first thing to do is to take steps to protect them from further harm:

  • Stay calm!
  • Remove objects, e.g. chairs, on which the convulsive person can injure themselves, or cover these objects with pillows if possible (e.g. dangerous corners and edges). If possible, you can also put a soft object (pillow, coat) under the person's head to protect them from injury.
  • Dial the emergency number 144.
  • Keep the person during the seizure not fixed! If there is a risk of falling, help the person to lie down on the floor.
  • Do not try to put objects (e.g. bite protection) in the mouth of a convulsive person! There is a great risk of bite injuries.
  • Wait for the duration of the seizure and do not leave the person alone during this time. Most seizures are limited to two minutes.

After the attack

Check the patient's consciousness and breathing! Do not leave the person alone until the emergency services arrive.

If the person concerned is dizzy but responsive and breathing normally

  • Calm the person down!
  • As a preventive measure, lay the person on their side, if possible place a cushion under their head.
  • Shield the person from external stimuli, e.g. loud noises, light, etc.
  • Cover up the affected person if possible.
  • Wipe away any saliva with a cloth.
  • Address the immediate needs of the person concerned.

If the person is unconscious but is breathing normally

  • Put the person in the stable side position.
  • Wipe away any saliva with a cloth.
  • Open tight clothing.
  • Check your breathing at regular intervals until rescue workers are on site.

If the person concerned is not conscious and is not breathing (normally)

  • Call for help and make bystanders aware of the situation.
  • Start resuscitation immediately! More on the subject: first aid measures

Interesting facts about epileptic seizures

Frequent triggers of a seizure in adulthood are, for example, strokes, encephalitis, tumors or even brain injuries. In children, the cause is usually damage to the brain in early childhood. Genetically inherited epilepsy is very rare. Sometimes it also occurs in the context of other diseases (e.g. metabolic diseases). A special case of seizures in childhood is febrile seizure.

People with epilepsy often have to live with a variety of prejudices. However, according to the current state of medicine, epilepsy can be treated well. If it is not possible to achieve freedom from seizures with medication, there are other options, but these are only offered in special centers. These range from surgical removal of the affected brain area to neuro-stimulation. With this method, certain brain structures are stimulated by means of electrical stimuli, which prevents epilepsy attacks. More on the topic: Epilepsy: Therapy

Overall, affected people can often lead an almost normal life. Most small seizures are barely noticed by the environment, e.g. brief convulsions or absences (so-called absences).

See Epilepsy for details.

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