Simply put, a seizure means your brain’s wiring is shorting out. Convulsions are caused by the brain’s rapid and uncoordinated electrical firing that deviates from a normal pattern.
Seizures can cause temporary abnormalities in behaviours and movements, such as alternating stiffness and jerking of the arms or leg, numb sensations, a loss of consciousness, or an altered level of consciousness.
It is essential to prevent someone from injuring themselves or placing their bodies in danger during a convulsion. Stay with them until the episode has finished. If the person’s seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, if they are unresponsive for more than five minutes after it stops, or if another quick succession of convulsions happens right after the first one, you should call an ambulance on (000).
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Person Having A Seizure
Any of the following are signs that a person is likely to be having a seizure:
· Altered awareness
· Spasm and rigid muscles
· Jerking movements of head, arms, and legs
· Shallow or intermittent breathing
· Lips or complexion may change colour
· Change in or loss of consciousness
· Noisy breathing, dribbling
· Faeces or urinary incontinence
· Febrile convulsions are usually associated with a rapid rise in temperature in young children.
· Numbness or tingling in the body
· Eyes that roll back in the sockets
· Hallucinations or becoming very confused and disorientated
What You Should Do If You Witness A Convulsion
· Time the paroxysm, if possible, from start to finish. Call an ambulance if it lasts longer than five minutes.
· Provide safety by removing dangerous objects or physical dangers where it is physically possible to remove the danger.
· Protect the head. Remain calm and reassuring to the person. Tell them where they are and that they are safe.
· Maintain the airway if they are unconscious.
· Roll the person onto their side in the recovery position when the body ceases the jerking movements and immediately if food, vomit, or fluid enters their mouth.
· DO NOT restrain the person unless they are in danger, and do not move them unless where they are is a dangerous or life-threatening hazard (on the road).
· Despite years of Hollywood saying otherwise, there is no danger that they will swallow their tongue. Do not put anything in their mouth, and make sure there is no food, gum, fluid or vomit they could choke on.
· Stiffening muscles (tonic phase) may cause the person to fall over suddenly and uncontrollably, and this may cause secondary injuries that need First Aid treatment.
What Are The Three Types Of Seizures
Seizures, convulsions, and paroxysms all mean the same thing and can affect both sides of the brain and are classified into three major groups depending on which part of the brain the corruption episode originates. Whether a person is aware during the episode or not, and whether there is movement and jerking.
Focal onset: Focal seizures start in one small region of the brain and are referred to as the focus. The focus may spread to other areas of the brain. The person may remain aware and conscious during the episode or lose the awareness ability completely.
Generalised onset: In generalised motor seizures, the person may make stiffening and jerking movements, known as tonic-clonic seizures. This type of convulsion used to be called a grand mal seizure, and older folk might still use the term.
In generalised non-motor seizures, the person has changes in their state of awareness, may stare or have repeated movements like lip-smacking or pulling at their clothes and hair.
Unknown onset: As you might suspect, unknown onset seizures are those that haven’t been diagnosed as focal or generalised because it is unknown where the paroxysm started in the brain. Febrile seizures are another cause of convulsions in children and impaired awareness. Illicit party drugs that cause the brain and body to overheat can trigger a paroxysm in someone who has never had a history of epilepsy or seizures.
What Causes Convulsions To Occur In The Brain
Numerous things can cause seizures; Epilepsy, head injuries, brain tumours, strokes, congenital birth defects and side effects of prescription medications and illegal party drugs. Common convulsion triggers include illicit drugs, excessive alcohol, and uncontrolled diabetes resulting in extremely low blood sugar levels. Strobing or fast flickering lights are triggers people identify with causing a seizure.
What Are The Treatment Options For Seizures
There are several treatment options for convulsions depending on the type of paroxysm a person has.
- Medication is available for people diagnosed with epilepsy who need antiepileptic drug medication to control the convulsions in most but not all cases.
- Surgery to remove the scarred brain tissue of focus seizures that occur in the same location of the brain each time.
- Vagus nerve stimulation involves implanting a small electrical device into the chest. The device sends the brain a weak electrical signal via the vagus nerve. It can be used for epilepsy that does not typically respond to medication or cannot be treated using surgery.
- A ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that may, under clinical supervision, be an option to help control paroxysms in some cases.
Can Convulsions Be Prevented
People who suffer from frequent convulsions may get warning signs of an impending seizure. They may feel their body temperature rise and start having visual issues. They may develop a strange taste in their mouth. These warning signs are referred to as auras. If these ‘auras’ occur, look for somewhere safe and free of hazards and sit down and get as comfortable as possible. If you are already on the ground, you eliminate any falling injuries that might occur to the body if you are upright.
Preventing paroxysms by avoiding triggers is also helpful. Triggers might include:
- Strobing, flashing or flickering lights
- A lack of sleep
- Alcohol consumption and abuse
- Not taking prescribed seizure medication
- Taking the incorrect dose of medication
Prescribed medications for seizures must be taken in the correct dosage and follow the letter’s prescription directions.
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