A guide on dealing with seizures

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Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash

The importance of awareness. Seizures impact the daily lives of ordinary people throughout the world. Without proper education, people have exposed seizure victims to dangerous risks.

Kate Geiger, Staff Writer

It was a sunny Wednesday afternoon when I arrived at my house that day. My nose took notice of a sweet aroma, and I gazed towards a pink box of cookies. Ripping open the box, I grabbed an Oreo cookie and I threw my backpack to the side to enjoy my snack. Afterward, I retreated onto my kitchen counter, exhausted from another day of school, ready to take a bite from the warm treat. But once I took the bite, my  bottom front teeth moved across the icing. My throat felt as if it were caving in. My bottom lip started to quiver violently. I couldn’t speak despite how hard I tried. As I felt my body collapse onto the floor, I lost all consciousness. I had a seizure. Thankfully, my family was quick to react and saved my life that day. But after my experience, I want to ensure that everyone is prepared to respond to those who fall victim to seizures.

 Seizures, specifically, are a common condition that affects one out of one hundred people. In fact, one in ten people may experience a seizure in their lifetime. While this condition may not be ongoing or chronic, it is important to educate ourselves on this common but not commonly discussed topic. At any given time, a seizure may affect a loved one whether that be a severe condition or on a mild scale. To gain a deeper understanding of seizures and their causes, we interviewed our school nurse, Ms. Ceniceros.

What is a seizure?

A seizure is an electrical disturbance in the brain. During a seizure, the person may stare and forget what happened as well as have uncontrollable movements in their arms and legs. These symptoms are present with an absence seizure and a clonic seizure. An absence seizure contains a brief, fifteen second moment of confusion where the person doesn’t know what happened. A clonic seizure contains a few seconds to a minute of jerking movements. The movements are regular and sustained rather than the movements in a myoclonic seizure. On the other hand, a myoclonic seizure is a brief muscle jerk or a spasm. They usually don’t last more than a second or two. Unlike clonic seizures, myoclonic seizures have a strange rhythm of movements.

“There is an uncoordinated electrical impulse going on in the brain,” stated Nurse Ceniceros, “It’s kind of like a lightning storm going on in the brain. Once this calms down or passes your brain goes back to normal.”

Moreover, people have different reactions to a seizure. Some may be able to feel the symptoms of the seizure right before it happens while others may not be able to feel the seizure coming. Those who are uneducated about seizures may react adversely towards an episode of seizures compared to those who are educated about seizures. For individuals who are uneducated, they might not recognize the symptoms of a seizure or know how to help someone experiencing a seizure. Nurse Ceniceros gave some noteworthy advice on helping a person experiencing a seizure, especially if you are alone with someone during the time of a seizure.

“You can always call for help, but first you should make sure that the person is safe and that they are in a safe place,” Ceniceros said. “You would need to help them to the ground and move them away from any furniture that they are at risk of bumping themselves on. Don’t put anything in their mouths and if they have anything tight thing around their neck, you can loosen that. Stay with that person and when the seizure is over, reassure that person.”

The safety of the victim is the most significant thing to take into consideration when on the topic of seizures. A person experiencing a seizure is at risk of hurting themselves. For example, they can bump their head, break a bone, or even choke during a seizure if they were eating.  It is imperative that the afflicted person is secure and out of harm’s way while they are unconscious.

“A great thing to do is to time the seizure because that gives the doctors or your friend’s parents a lot of information about what’s going on,” Nurse Ceniceros mentioned.

Timing a seizure is an important measure to take because the length of the seizure can correlate with the severity. In some instances, one may feel like a seizure is lasting longer than it actually is. If a seizure exceeds the three-minute mark, then it becomes essential to contact emergency services. 

How can you help?

There are multiple procedures someone can take to ensure the safety of the afflicted person. Taking these steps into consideration could help those who may need our help in the future.

First Aid for All Types of Seizures:

  • Stay calm
  • Turn them on their side, allowing the trachea to clear
  • Stay with them
  • Comfort them, they can be confused or afraid after becoming aware after the seizure

Grand Mal First Aid:

  • Get them to a safe place
  • Turn them on their side
  • Clear anything hard or sharp from the area to prevent any injuries.
  • Put something soft under their head
  • Loosen anything around their neck, which making it hard to breathe
  • Time the seizure

Do Not:

  • Do not restrain them
  • Do not put something in their mouth.
  • Do not panic if they fall asleep

Call 911:

  • If the seizure lasts longer than three minutes 
  • If the medicine didn’t work 
  • If the person keeps continue a seizure after having one
  • If they got hurt during the seizure
  • If the person has a seizure in water