It can be a terrifying experience when someone is having a seizure, especially if you've never seen one before. However, there are several things you can do to help.
Would you know what to do?
A seizure temporarily interferes with a person's movement, vision, speech, or awareness. It may cause a person's entire body to shake violently and they may lose consciousness. Doctors say you should stay calm, call 9-1-1, and protect the person from injury.
Dr. Deepak Lachhwani says, "The first step is safety. You make them lay down if they are in the middle of furniture or something that may actually harm them, on a flat surface, and you turn them on the left or the right side. After that, you may not really have to do anything except watch over them and activate help."
By gently turning them to one side, you can help keep their airways clear. Do not try to hold them down or move them, as this can injure them.
You can also make the person comfortable by putting a soft object under their head and clearing the area of anything hard or sharp.
And contrary to popular belief, you should never put anything in a seizing person's mouth.
"The jaw muscles are the strongest muscles in the body", says Dr. Lachhwani. "Anything you do to try to dislodge what is in their mouth or try to pry their mouth open can actually harm the patient in a big way, but also harm the person that is trying to do it. The best thing is to just turn them to the side, so by gravity, if they have anything in their mouth it will kind of pull out. The tongue never gets swallowed."
Dr. Lachhwani says seizures typically last one to two minutes.
Stay with the person until they are awake and familiar with their surroundings, since most will be sleepy or confused after a seizure.
By following these simple steps, you may just save a person from injury or death.
Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.