I was just complaining to my friend that my oldest sister didn’t know what to do the last time I had a convulsive seizure, and I ended up injured because of it. And my friend said that actually, they don’t know what to do when they see someone have a convulsive seizure, either.
So I thought I’d explain it to you. I’m not a doctor, and I have no medical training and not everything here will apply to everyone who has convulsive seizures, these are just the things that apply to me, and when in doubt, call an ambulance.
Here’s what you do:
Look around. Am I lying in the middle of a busy street or on the railroad tracks, or somewhere else dangerous, like in the bathtub? If yes, drag me to somewhere where I am not in imminent danger of being hit by a truck or drowning.
Am I somewhere safe, but lying near dangerous things like fire or knives or broken glass or pans of boiling water or anything that can hurt me? Move the dangerous things away from me.
My body will be convulsing. That means my head and my arms and my legs are rapidly hitting the ground. Put something soft underneath my head. If there’s a cushion right there, perfect. If not, wad up your coat or shove your shopping bag under my head. If there’s nothing immediately to hand that would take you more than a few seconds to grab, stick your feet underneath my head, it’ll work.
Am I wearing anything around my neck, like a tight collar, or a necktie, or a choker? Loosen it, so my airway is clear.
Don’t restrict my movements – don’t try to hold my arms and legs down. You’ve already moved all the dangerous things away from me, and cushioned my head, so don’t hold me down, unless it is necessary to keep me from doing serious harm.
Don’t put anything in my mouth. A lot of people think you need to stick your fingers or a spoon or something into the person’s mouth to prevent them choking on their tongue. Don’t do this.
Try to make a note of the time the seizure first started. If the seizure lasts for longer than five minutes, call an ambulance.
When the convulsing/jerking has stopped, roll me onto my side. If you know what the recovery position is, put me in the recovery position, if you don’t, just roll me onto my side, and check my airway. If I’m not breathing, or I’m having trouble breathing, call an ambulance.
It seems to be instinctive to help someone get back to their feet as soon as the seizure is over. Don’t do this with me. After a seizure, I’m in something called a post-ictal state. It makes me very, very confused, and lying on the ground or sitting somewhere soft is the safest place for me. If you pull me to my feet while I’m still this confused, I will walk directly into traffic or put my hand on a hot stove because I won’t know where I am, or what’s happening, and often I won’t be able to see at all for a few minutes. Keep me somewhere safe until I’ve fully recovered.
If I have another seizure before I’ve fully recovered from the earlier one, call an ambulance.
If you think I might be hurt, or you’re confused or not sure about what to do, call an ambulance.
That’s all there is to it. Make sure I’m not in immediate physical danger; cushion my head (but don’t restrain it); when the jerking stops, roll me onto my side and check my airway; keep me somewhere safe until I’m fully recovered, and if the seizure lasts a long time, or I have a second one, or you aren’t sure what to do or you think I might be hurt, call an ambulance. That’s it. It’s not hard, and I promise you can do this.
THIS THIS THIS
The last time I had a convulsive seizure in public, somebody held my arms down and both shoulders dislocated
Also it’s a myth that peope can swallow their tongues.