How To Help Someone Having a Seizure

Last week when I was walking home (which is currently in Nairobi), a man fell into the road having a seizure. I ran into the street to help him, but I was the only person who did. I called for help trying to move him out of the road, and after a lot of hesitation, two women came to help me move him. They left as soon as we got him to the side of the road.

There is a huge stigma here about epilepsy, and people are very hesitant to help because they do not understand why people are having seizures. But the truth is, people are hesitant everywhere to help if someone is having a seizure. Because let’s face it, it’s scary. But it’s also incredibly scary for the person having the seizure. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have a seizure around strangers and come to alone (and if you in are in Nairobi, quite possibly without your shoes and wallet).

I always seem to be around when people have seizures—this is the fourth time I’ve been around strangers having seizures so I have a fair amount of exposure. That’s why I thought I would post here about how to help someone who is having a seizure, so if you are around someone who is having one, you will know how to help them. Knowing what to do makes seizures a lot less scary. I’m going to talk about grand mal/tonic clonic seizures, not petit mal/absence seizures.

First, stay calm and don’t panic. You want to make sure to prevent any injuries so make sure the person does not hit anything (for example, if in a classroom move all the desks out of the way). Do NOT hold the person down, because you could hurt them. You can’t stop a seizure, and you just need to let it happen. However, make sure they don’t hit their head. If they are falling, lower the person to the ground so they do not hit their head. It is fine to put a jacket or something soft underneath their head, but never hold onto their head or shoulders. Never put anything in the person’s mouth—there is a common belief that a person having a seizure will swallow their tongue, which is not true. They will not choke on their tongue, so don’t worry about having to put anything in their mouth. It is normal for a person to lose control of their bladder or bowels, so don’t be surprised if this happens.

After the person has a seizure, place them on their side, in case of vomiting. They will probably be out of it and unsure of what happened, so stay calm and be reassuring. Let them know what happened, and ask if this is happened before and if they are on any medications. Stay with them until they have recovered, which can be around fifteen minutes.

When you should call 911:

  • If they are not breathing
  • If the seizure is longer than five minutes (This is why it is helpful to time a seizure. Also, it can be really helpful for the person to know and monitor their seizures)
  • If there are any injuries
  • If they have a second seizure, especially if they do not regain consciousness
  • If it is their first seizure

The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and use common sense. Helping a person who is having a seizure not only helps the experience be less traumatizing for them, but you could be potentially saving their life and preventing serious injuries. Hopefully this helps, and if someone has a seizure around you, you will know how to respond and help them!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s