Epilepsy and seizures: What should you do?

brain scans

Due to the untimely and tragic death of a high-profile actor, seizures, epilepsy and their effects have been thrust into the national spotlight.

dr nikesh ardeshna
Dr. Nikesh Ardeshna

While not all seizures carry the risk of being fatal, they do require immediate medical attention. However, groups or bystanders can potentially create unintentional barriers before first responders arrive.

“Incidents like this reiterate the importance of knowing what to do in the event of a seizure before help arrives,” said Dr. Nikesh Ardeshna, an epileptologist with McLaren Macomb.

Dr. Ardeshna advocates for learning general first aid for seizures in the likely event that one occurs and bystanders are waiting for first responders:
• Remain calm and call for emergency medical help
• Keep on-lookers away
• If possible move hazardous objects out of the way to prevent injury
• Ease the patient to the ground if possible and lay them on their back or, if not, to a chair
• Do not put anything in the person’s mouth (including water)
• Do not forcibly hold them down or hold their extremities
• Ensure their breathing is OK
• Stay with the person throughout their seizure
• Provide calming reassurance
• Most generalized convulsive seizures (grand mal) seizures end in 2-3 minutes. Afterwards patients can be confused, sleepy and/or agitated

Learn more about epilepsy care at McLaren Macomb at mclaren.org/macombepilepsy.