Many of the calls after hours care professionals receive concern a person having a seizure. Seizures can be terrifying if you don’t know what is going on. They are caused by electrical impulses within a person’s brain that misfire causing involuntary physical reactions such as twitching, jerking and shaking. Seizures can last from a few seconds to several minutes. The longer a person experiences a seizure, the higher their overall risk of brain damage. Knowing the reason why a person is having a seizure will help you determine what steps to take after it ends.
Seizures can be caused by epilepsy, neurological defects and malfunctions, diabetic shock and fevers that rise quickly in infants. Seizures that occur in infants and small children are called febrile seizures and normally end after the child reaches their 5th birthday. After hours urgent care nurses and physicians, may recommend a trip to the emergency room if a small child is having multiple seizures or ones that cannot be controlled with medication.
If you witness someone having a seizure, there are several things you will need to do to help protect them and keep them from hurting themselves.
*Falling – If someone begins to seize and starts to fall, it’s imperative to try and protect their head. They will be extremely rigid and will have no control over where they land, so guiding them to the ground is the safest option. Call an after hours care facility or 911 once the person is safely on the ground.
*Remove Obstacles – Remove anything they can hit themselves on including furniture, boxes, etc. If obstacles can’t be moved try and put cushions or blankets between them and the hard surface. Stay away from their thrashing arms and legs. They have no control over their physical movements during a seizure and the jerking of their limbs can be quite powerful.
*Never Put Anything In Their Mouth – When a person has a seizure, they will clamp their jaws together. An after hours care specialist will tell you to avoid the person’s mouth at all cost. Their teeth are sharp and can severely damage a finger or other object if it is placed in their mouth. In the past, people incorrectly assumed they needed to put something in the person’s mouth to protect their tongue and hold it in place. This practice was later discontinued do to risk of choking.
*Wait on the Patient to Respond – Never try and bring a person out of a seizure. Once the seizure ends, assess their reactions and begin to talk to them. It may take some individuals several minutes to respond to your voice. As long as you are in contact with an after hours care professional, they will help you determine what the next step is and where the patient should be taken for medical treatment.