By Nurse Diane
A friend of mine owns a bowling center and holds a weekly league for senior adults. A few weeks ago, one of the members began to suffer a seizure, and the people around him were uneducated on what to do, or how to help. Most people who have never seen a seizure do not know how to respond, however, waiting until one occurs is not the time to learn.
Epilepsy affects 2.2 million people according to the Center for Disease Control. That number is climbing among the elderly baby boomer generation. The causes of epilepsy are not readily identifiable. There are many factors that can result in someone having a seizure. Some of these include:
- Brain trauma
Epilepsy is normally controlled with medication. However, if you happen to be in an area and a seizure attack happens, here are the precautions you need to know:
- Keep calm and reassure other people who may be nearby.
- Don't hold the person down or try to stop his movements.
- Time the seizure with your watch.
- Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp.
- Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult.
- Put something flat and soft, like a folded jacket, under the head.
- Turn him or her gently onto one side. This will help keep the airway clear. Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. It is not true that a person having a seizure can swallow his tongue. Efforts to hold the tongue down can cause injury.
- Don't attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped.
- Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally.
- Be friendly and reassuring as consciousness returns.
- Offer to call a taxi, friend or relative to help the person get home if he seems confused or unable to get home by himself.
November is National Epilepsy Month - for more information, and ways you can help with Awareness, or studies, visit this site: http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/