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November is Epilepsy Awareness! Seizure disorders are more common amongst people with Hydrocephalus, but they can be scary for anyone because epilepsy has a lot of unknowns. The very first seizure you have is the scariest in my experience because you don’t know what is happening and most likely do not have emergency medication to stop it that someone who has epilepsy may have access to. There are many different types of seizures, and some are more severe than other, but seizure disorders are totally treatable through lifestyle changes, medication and in some cases, surgery may be required. When someone is having a seizure immediate treatment is important and can be save a life but if it’s your first time witnessing a seizure you may not know what to do. The seizures I have had are not painful and are not life-threatening but even if a seizure doesn’t kill it’s still important to be on preventative medication to prevent it from getting worse. What should you do if you see someone having a seizure? In this post, I am going talk about a few things that everyone should do when they see someone having a seizure.
Time it- When you go to a neurologist for seizures the first thing doctors ask you is how long is your seizures and what do they look like. I can easily tell my doctor what symptoms I experience before a seizure, but I can only make guesses as to how long I think it is because when I have seizure often it is without warning, and I am not going to be able to time my own seizures. If you witness someone having a seizure, it’s important that you immediately start timing it because it helps doctors accurately diagnose what types of seizure you have. It’s important to know how long your seizures are because if it has been longer than five minutes and there are no signs of the seizure breaking it could be serious and you may need medical attention. If I have a seizure, it’s not unusual for mine to be longer than five minutes and I don’t always need to go to a hospital but for some people that can be a serious red flag.
Call 911 if it’s the first one- When someone is having a seizure timing can be helpful but if someone does not have history of epilepsy and it’s their first seizure your main priority should not be clocking it but getting that person medical attention. You should always go to the hospital if it’s your first seizure because hospitals will be able to give someone medication that will immediately stop the seizure and look for things that may have caused it.
Remove any sharp objects- When I have a seizure my eyes are flickering and forced shut and until the seizure passes, I can hear you but cannot see anything. I am not completely unconscious when I am seizing and can hear everything around me that is going on, but I cannot respond to it. During a seizure you are not completely aware of what you are and can easily hurt myself if there are sharp objects within my reach. Remove any sharp objects that is within reach because I have totally grabbed something that was close to me and stabbed myself while I was seizing to try to come out of it and don’t realize that was not a good idea until I come out of it and have random cuts and bruises. I am not thinking straight when I am in the middle of seizure and it’s so important that people around me are paying attention because I will hurt myself if you leave sharp objects sitting right next to me.
Remain calm– Seizures are scary for both the person experiencing it and everyone around you witnessing it but I can’t stress enough how important it is that you try to remain calm I can’t see people when I am having a seizure but I can hear you and will know if you are freaking out which will give me more anxiety and possibly make the seizure longer than it normally would have been. If you can’t handle the stress of watching someone have a seizure and there are other people around, please walk away because the last thing you want to do is make the person experiencing the seizure to feel like they are in unsafe place and create more panic.
Stay with them– If you can’t handle the stress of watching your loved one have a seizure you should not be with them, but you should never leave someone who is having a seizure alone because they can hurt themselves during a seizure and with more severe types sometimes you stop breathing and it becomes a medical emergency. You should always stay with someone who is having a seizure until it passes because if things take a downward turn and you need to go to the hospital someone has to know about it or you could quite literally cost someone their life.
Roll them on their side– When you are having a seizure your body position is important because people who are seizing can easily choke if they are laying on their back. If you can turn them on their side because helps open your airways so that doesn’t happen.
Don’t ask a million questions when someone comes out of it– When I come out of seizure I am confused and depending on the length of the seizure I may have memory loss for a day or two. When you come out of a seizure it can be very overwhelming for the person who experienced it to be surrounded by a bunch of people that are not family because sometimes you are bit confused and don’t remember where you are. There is nothing more frustrating than when people start asking a million questions the moment someone comes out of it because in most cases I don’t know the answer to your questions and if I did, I am too tired to talk about it. Seizures can be exhausting and the best thing you do for someone who just had a seizure is to let them rest and recover from it. I understand that you may be curious but asking someone a million questions the second they come out of it can be overwhelming for the person who experience it and you probably won’t get a straight answer if you ask question too soon.
Epilepsy changes the activities you are able to participate in safely, but you can live well with a seizure disorder and many people do. When you are having a seizure, you rely on the people around you to do the right thing because I am not going to get myself help when I am experiencing one and if people around me can’t pull themselves together it could be seriously bad. Seizure medication and diet changes helps prevent some seizure but like preventative treatment for migraine it does not cure epilepsy and only helps prevent some seizures and you can still have them while on medication. I am no longer am on seizure medication because I wasn’t having any seizure and my doctor felt it was not necessary, but most people take seizure medication their entire life and there is no shame in taking medication if you need it. Awareness for epilepsy is important because seizures can happen to anyone and if you know the signs it can help you be more prepared and get someone in a safe place before they hurt themselves and it’s too late. What would you do if you witnessed someone having a seizure?
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