5 Tips for Helping Someone Who Is Having a Seizure
Your first step in helping someone who is having a seizure is to remain calm. It might be terrifying to witness at first, but remaining calm, collected and prepared might save that person’s life. There are a number of reasons why someone might be having a seizure, but the most common is a condition called epilepsy. There is a surprising percentage of the population with epilepsy and at least 10% of sufferers will experience some kind of moderate to severe type of seizure in their lifetime. Helping them doesn’t just require being by their side until the seizure subsides and then calling emergency responders. Here are 5 tips for helping someone who is having a seizure.
- Make sure to slowly ease the person to a safe place on the floor. Major injuries from seizures are usually caused by the person falling and hitting their head on an object or the floor. So if you notice that someone is having a seizure, gently lower them to a safe place on the ground and put something underneath their head. It is also recommended that you make sure the area is clear of any heavy objects, like furniture or machinery that they could possibly injure themselves on.
- It is also crucial to put something in their mouth so that they don’t end up swallowing their own tongue. You can use a wallet or some kind of handkerchief, but make sure that it isn’t obstructing the person’s ability to breathe. In addition, before you put anything in their mouth, make sure that they are breathing in the first place, because you don’t want to further block their air passages.
- Loosen restrictive clothing. A CPR training course, either with Red Cross in the United States, or with Australia Wide First Aid, will teach you that restrictive clothing on someone who is having a severe seizure can become a choking hazard. So make sure to loosen ties, belts, necklaces, collars, or anything that might inadvertently restrict oxygen flow.
- Next, make sure that when the seizure has subsided that you put the person into a recovery position against your body. You want to put this person in a position that won’t allow saliva that has built up to become a choking hazard. So it is crucial to pick them up, cross their hands across their chest and put their back against your body in an almost cradling position until emergency responders arrive. If they have epilepsy and are used to the seizures they might only have to take their medication.
- Lastly, it is important to wait up to a half-hour with the person who has had a seizure for emergency responders to arrive. If the person does not have epilepsy it is not safe to leave the person alone, because it could happen again and you might not be there to eliminate some of the risks. So be patient and wait, because you could end up saving someone’s life.