How to Handle a Seizure | Epilepsy Awareness Month

by Sue Turner, Epilepsy Program Coordinator

Epilepsy Awareness MonthNovember is Epilepsy Awareness Month. It is estimated that 65 million adults and children worldwide have epilepsy and that number continues to grow.

Beaumont is dedicated to its multidisciplinary approach to the disease. Developing a plan of care for the patient is the first step, but providing the patient and his or her family the proper resources to adjust and cope with epilepsy is among the many aspects of our program.

It is important to get educated about epilepsy. There are many different types of seizures and having a seizure does not necessarily mean an epilepsy diagnosis. Epilepsy is generally diagnosed after two or more unprovoked seizures. For many, the idea of being present during seizure may be scary, but if you follow the steps below you may be helpful in keeping someone safe.

If someone is having a seizure:

  • check your watch or a clock once the seizure starts (to time the duration of the seizure)
  • if the person hasn’t already fallen, gently lower the person to the floor to prevent injury
  • clear the area of any sharp or dangerous objects
  • gently turn the person on one side to keep the airway open
  • place a soft object under the person’s head (e.g. a sweater or pillow) or cradle the head with your hand gently loosen any restrictive clothing and remove glasses
  • when the seizure ends, ask the person his or her name and location, and help to reorient; if disorientation or fatigue persists, allow the person to rest somewhere comfortable

Do not:

  • place anything in the mouth of someone having a seizure or touch or hold the tongue
  • restrain the person having a seizure
  • administer liquids or foods until the person is fully conscious
  • attempt to give oral medications during the seizure
  • administer oxygen or CPR during the seizure
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