A seizure is a short spell of abnormally high brain electrical activity resulting in convulsions (twitching, jerking, or fits), staring into space, stiffening muscles, or losing consciousness.
Although seizures usually only last a few minutes, they can be terrifying to witness. Knowing what to do and what not to do is crucial for the patient's recovery and awareness of their disease.
Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney, one of the best neurosurgeon in Mumbai, says that a seizure can start at any time, and there is not much you can do to stop it. But during one, you can assist in preventing someone from harm.
Although most seizures are not emergencies, some are more dangerous than others. Try to ensure their safety if you wish to help the person.
If you or your loved ones suffer from seizures, consult the well-known seizure specialist in Mumbai, Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney. He is known to provide advanced and effective seizure treatment in Mumbai.
He is an expert in complex neurotrauma and neurosurgical procedures, including epilepsy surgery, functional neurosurgery, neuroendoscopy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.
What are the signs and symptoms of a seizure?
The most common type of seizure is the generalized tonic-clonic, also referred to as a grand mal seizure. It can be a frightening episode for the person watching it. And the person experiencing it hardly ever remembers or realizes what is happening.
These seizures have a pattern:
- First, the person appears to “check out.” This means they won't reply or respond if you speak to them, wave a hand in their direction, or shake them. They may pass out.
- Then their muscles tighten, and they become stiff.
- This is followed by jerking movements.
- Finally, the abnormal movements cease, and they are attentive again and can speak, though they may be confused or unsteady for some time.
Generalized seizures can be unsafe as the person loses awareness of their surroundings and are unable to defend themselves; their risk of injury increases due to uncontrolled thrashing. On the contrary, focal seizures are less severe and primarily last for a couple of minutes.
The person’s body part may become stiff or floppy, and they may make repeated or jerking movements. They might stare into space or zone out. During the episode, they may or may not be aware of what is happening but are unable to control it. They will not be able to recall anything when it is over.
Check out the list of dos and don’ts for seizures.
What can you do to help someone who is having a seizure?
- Move away any sharp or hard objects that can cause harm to them, such as furniture or glasses.
- Place something soft under their head to protect it from hitting the ground.
- Stop people from crowding around. Individuals suffering from seizures will not be comfortable with so many unknown people staring at them when they become alert. It saves them from embarrassment.
- Keep track of the time the seizure lasts. If it continues for more than 5 minutes, call an ambulance.
- Most seizures stop on their own, and there is no need for medical help. However, if the person has injured themselves or if it is the first time the person has had a seizure, please call an ambulance.
- If possible, take notes of what you see during the seizure as it may help the person and the medical specialist treating them.
- Stay with the person until they recover and can resume their activity. Speak with them calmly and reassure them if they are frightened or confused.
- Before leaving, check that their breathing has regularized after the seizure attack.
What should you not do when someone is having a seizure?
- Do not try to stop their movements or hold them down.
- Do not try to shift the person unless they are near something unsafe like the stairs, water, or traffic.
- Do not put anything between the person’s teeth.
- Do not put anything in the person’s mouth during a seizure, as it can be dangerous.
- Do not provide CPR till the seizure has completely stopped and the person has no pulse or is not breathing.
- Do not panic and gather a crowd while the person is having a seizure.
- Do not presume that it is epilepsy, the cause of the seizure may be something else.
When should you call for a medical emergency?
- Call the ambulance if the seizure continues for more than five minutes.
- The person does not regain consciousness after the jerking movements have stopped.
- The person has sustained an injury during a seizure.
- When the person gets another seizure within some time of the first.
- If it is the first seizure
Finding a highly experienced and qualified seizure specialist is crucial in controlling the condition. Dr. Gurneet Singh Sawhney, a leading neurosurgeon in India, excels in providing accurate diagnoses and precise treatment tailored to your unique needs. You can consult him at Neurolife Brain & Spine Clinic, or Fortis Hospital, Mulund.