In medical terms, technically not epilepsy, a seizure is a medical condition where the patient witnesses a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Naturally, it can cause changes in the behavior, feelings, movements and even level of consciousness. It is when you have two or more seizures, or a tendency to have recurrent seizures that you have epilepsy. Certainly, it is not the most pleasant medical condition to be in.
It is important to be aware of the condition of seizure whether or not you are sufferer primarily because the number of epileptics around the globe is rising significantly and you never know when you need to lend a hand to your friend. So let’s begin:
Primarily, they are of two types, Generalized and Focal seizures. Below, I have described each of them in details:
1. Generalized Seizures
In this category, the whole brain of the patient is affected, and that is the cause of the seizure. It can further be categorized into two parts.
- Absence seizures
Probably the better one, this type of seizure is also referred to as ‘petit mal’ which means less harmful or small harm. In fact, you are unlikely to make out that the person in front of you is in a seizure. This kind of seizure typically lasts only for 15 seconds, in which the patient is likely to keep staring blankly at a distance, blinking rapidly, himself not realizing he is in absence seizure. These seizures do not require much action from you, but remember to stay calm, and once the seizure is over-treat the person like usual.
- Tonic-Clonic Seizures
Typically, these are the types of seizures you have heard about. In French, they are referred to as ‘Grand Mal’ meaning great illness, or great harm. These are the seizures that last for a few minutes; involve the patient from falling down, crying out, crawling, losing awareness, experiencing muscle spasms, stiffening, and breathing rapidly. This form requires an intervention from you, which we will discuss later in this content piece.
2. Focal Seizures
Also called partial seizures, they are localized and only one part of the brain is affected, which ultimately causes a seizure. Focal seizures can further be divided into 3 categories.
- Simple focal seizures
Lasts between a few seconds to some minutes, in this, the patient may experience twitchiness, mostly in the face muscles, and think that they are smelling or tasting something strange. No intervention is needed from your side.
- Complex focal seizures
This involves the person being confused and disoriented, and due to this they cannot answer any question or be part of conversations. This happens usually for two minutes, and you should then guide them to some safe spot, talk to them reassuringly, and not forget to stay calm. Do not leave until they are fine.
- Secondary generalized seizures
They begin like focal seizures, but as the name suggests, they grow and evolve into generalized, tonic-clonic seizures.
Now that you are aware of the different types of seizures, let’s discuss what you should and shouldn’t do when your friend is experiencing a seizure.
- To avoid severe falls, if possible, relax and rest them in the ground.
- Head injuries should be avoided, so try and keep something soft below their head. You will most probably not have a pillow with you then, so try a sweater or folded jacket.
- Make sure they are not around large objects, hard surfaces, sharp edges, hot surfaces and other stuff that may hurt them.
- Even small shards and hard objects like knives can hurt them, so make sure they are not around them.
- Since they cannot breathe properly, removing scarves and other tight objects around their neck will help them do so.
- The first aid recovery position is to roll them onto their side, which enables them to breathe better.
- There shouldn’t be any kind of restriction or attempt to restriction, as this is not only dangerous for the patient but you as well since they don’t have any control over their actions.
- Don’t try and force anything inside their mouth. It can hurt their gums, teeth, jaws, and even choke them in worst cases.
- No acts of cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be performed.
Apart from all this, You can also keep some effective medicines handy like Levipil 500, so that on wost days you don’t have to rush around. For focal seizures, two of the most common medicine are carbamazepine and lamotrigine. Also, make sure you don’t treat any epileptic like a patient and stay as calm as possible in their proximity.