How to provide first aid for epilepsy

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How to provide first aid for epilepsy

Epilepsy (falling illness) is a fairly common pathology of the nervous system, the main manifestation of which is an epileptic seizure. An epileptic attack is quite frightening, characterized by loss of consciousness, onset of convulsions and, in some isolated cases, foaming at the mouth. Sometimes it can take on a reddish tint.

To provide first aid, you do not need to have specific medical knowledge and skills. In most cases, the seizure goes away on its own, it is not necessary to call an ambulance. As a rule, a person who knows about his problems carries a note with the numbers of relatives, friends, information about himself, which may be useful to those who are close to him.

However, people who want to help the victim should clearly follow the first aid manipulations, since the wrong procedure can cause serious damage to the patient.

People with epilepsy should be regularly examined by a doctor, as the correct prescription of drugs and constant control of the disease reduce the risk of epileptic seizures. The Yusupov Hospital provides medical services to the best neurologists and epileptologists in the capital, who will select an individual treatment for each patient.

Epilepsy and epileptic seizures are completely different types and can manifest themselves in different ways. However, despite the variety, the attack always occurs suddenly. There are some signs by which you can identify an impending seizure, but this is not always possible. It is important for a person providing assistance to maintain inner peace and confidently perform all necessary actions, since a person’s life is at stake.

Signs of an epileptic seizure

The mechanics of the onset of epilepsy has not yet been precisely elucidated, however, it is known that convulsions begin against the background of intense excitation of areas of the cerebral cortex due to increased electrical activity of nerve endings.

Signs of an attack are usually individual, but there is a certain set of symptoms that helps determine the stage of an attack and immediately proceed to perform first aid manipulations. Such crises cause severe pain and stress to the patient, therefore, after the seizure has passed, the victim should be handled very carefully.

Signs of an epileptic seizure include:

  • sudden loss of balance, falling to the ground;
  • loss of consciousness;
  • nausea, vomiting;
  • heavy heavy breathing;
  • muscle hypertonicity;
  • inseparable loud shouting;
  • a sharp increase in blood pressure;
  • nosebleeds;
  • involuntary throwing the head back;
  • “glass eyes”;
  • increased salivation, sometimes with foam;
  • loss of a sense of the reality of the world around;
  • violation of the thinking process, misunderstanding of the words or cries of strangers;
  • involuntary bowel movements or urination;
  • local cramps or cramps of the whole body;
  • numbness of the limbs;
  • pupils stop responding to light;
  • cyanosis or redness of the face and other skin;
  • very frequent pulse or its strong decrease;
  • convulsions.

It is quite difficult to prevent an attack, however, according to certain indicators, one can understand its approach and take the patient to a safe place.
An individual therapeutic plan is drawn up by experienced neurologists and epileptologists. Subject to medical recommendations for the treatment and prevention of epileptic seizures, 60-70% of patients at the Yusupov hospital achieve long-term remission.

Causes of occurrence and development

There are no direct causes that can cause an epileptic seizure, but there are a number of risk factors that, under certain circumstances, can provoke an epileptic seizure. Risk factors can be either congenital or acquired.

Hereditary predisposition implies a special functioning of neurons and their tendency to spontaneous excitation. This feature can be passed down from generation to generation, but does not always manifest itself. Epilepsy with a hereditary predisposition can develop in the case of acquired provoking factors, namely:

  • with cerebral hemorrhage or other disorders of cerebral circulation;
  • after traumatic brain injury;
  • as a result of prolonged alcoholism, taking narcotic and psychotropic drugs, severe stress;
  • with meningitis, encephalitis;
  • with birth trauma;
  • with a brain abscess or stroke;
  • in the presence of aneurysms, cysts or adhesions in the brain.

Factors that affect the occurrence of an epileptic seizure are:

  • poor sleep pattern;
  • drinking alcohol, caffeine, taking any amount of narcotic substances, antidepressants not prescribed by a doctor;
  • refusal to take medication, undergo therapy;
  • smoking;
  • stress;
  • changes in hormonal levels due to certain diseases;
  • menstruation in women.

It is very important to understand: if an attack has begun, in no case should you give the patient any medications, especially those that are not prescribed by the attending physician. In such a situation, the process has already been launched, and any pills can only do harm. An attack, if it lasts no more than three minutes, should simply be controlled and not try to bring the person to his senses. However, if the attack lasts longer, it is important to call the medical team.

The doctors of the Yusupov hospital work around the clock, so in case of complications after the epileptic syndrome, you should immediately consult a doctor in order to avoid disastrous consequences. We will help our patients to get out of any difficult situation.

Provoking factors

Often, epileptic seizures occur from various “triggers” – situations that provoke an attack. It can be a bright flashing picture, a sequence of sharp sounds. There are cases when excessively bright cartoon screensavers caused a negative reaction in children. The danger is flashing, abruptly changing images that overload sensitive systems.

If the attack is caused by just such a factor, then it is better to get rid of it as soon as possible: turn off the TV, turn down the sound. At the end of the attack, ensure that you stay in a quiet room with subdued light. If triggers are left untreated, they can trigger a series of repeated attacks that the body will not be able to survive.

How to identify an impending seizure

It is impossible to prevent an epileptic seizure, but you can warn others about this in advance or ask for help if you suffer from epilepsy and feel the approach of an attack.

First comes the tonic phase, its manifestations are convulsions, loss of control over the situation, increased salivation, etc. As a rule, due to muscle hypertonicity, the legs remain straight, and the arms involuntarily bend at the elbows. Breathing goes astray, can stop for a few seconds at certain intervals. From asphyxia, the skin turns blue, especially the lips.

The tonic phase lasts about 30-45 seconds, followed by the clonic phase. The clonic period is characterized by alternating muscle tension and relaxation – convulsions and convulsive states. During this period, a person randomly twitches, bends in unnatural poses, but does not come to his senses. The patient may spontaneously bite his lips or tongue, which is why an admixture of blood appears in the saliva. During the period of complete relaxation of the muscles, the internal sphincters also weaken, which may cause bowel or bladder emptying.

A few minutes before the onset of the epileptic syndrome, the patient may suffer from anxiety, increased anxiety, and hallucinations of various types may appear. There are several types of pre- epileptic states, the so-called auras:

  • speech aura – violation of sensory or motor functions;
  • psychic aura – a sudden, unconditioned feeling of sadness, melancholy, increased anxiety, panic attacks, or vice versa, a sharp surge of energy and joy;
  • vegetative aura – a violation of the functions of the executive organs: blood vessels, secretion glands and muscles;
  • sensitive aura – distortion of the sensations of external stimuli, a feeling of extreme cold or heat, a violation of the sensation of one’s body;
  • sensory aura – changes in auditory, olfactory and visual sensations.

It is important not to panic if you notice similar symptoms in yourself or someone nearby. You should calmly warn others about this and secure the location by removing all dangerous piercing or cutting objects, as well as move to a safe place where you can lie down.

First aid algorithm

First aid for an epileptic seizure is extremely important, since incorrect actions can not only not help the victim, but also worsen the situation. If a nearby person began to show symptoms of an impending seizure, you should prepare:

  • find out if the person has had epileptic seizures before;
  • if a person has epilepsy, he must immediately take the pills prescribed by the doctor that block the attack. At the same time, people who are nearby should not give the patient pills of unknown origin;
  • secure the location, move to an uninhabited safe place;
  • if the situation occurs indoors, it is necessary to open windows or doors to ensure the flow of fresh air;
  • the patient’s head should be laid on its side to avoid choking with saliva or vomit;
  • provide the patient with a fall on a soft surface, put an additional soft object under the head so that the head is higher than the body;
  • remove all potentially traumatic objects;
  • Remove belts, necklaces, hats, and anything that can compress, cause discomfort, or make breathing difficult.

What to do if an epileptic seizure has already begun?

To begin with, it is worth remembering that panic and loss of self-control are factors due to which help during an epileptic seizure may be inappropriate. You need to calm down, take a breath and start performing the following algorithm of actions:

  • fix the time of the onset of the attack;
  • if possible, put a folded soft tissue or any non-hard object between the jaws to the patient, in order to avoid biting the lips or tongue;
  • fix the time of the end of the attack, this will help in the future with the diagnosis.

It is important to stay close by until the symptoms are completely gone. If there is no direct threat to life and health, then it is better not to actively interfere in the course of events. Excessive activity from those who want to help can often harm further well-being.

There are a number of erroneous actions that can cause significant harm to the victim.

What Not to Do

Doctors talk about several actions that should not be taken in any case, wanting to help.

First, never leave a person alone. During the tonic phase of seizures, the patient may stop breathing due to airway spasm. During the clonic phase, hitting your head against something.

Secondly, it is strictly contraindicated to try to restrain a person who is convulsing. Muscles are overstressed due to contractions, and excessive pressure on the limbs or spine will not lead to anything good, but will only increase the risk of damage to the muscle fiber or joints when it comes to the limbs.

Thirdly, there is a well-established stereotype that an epileptic needs to insert something between his teeth. Usually, a spoon or keys are named as a suitable item. But the facial muscles are as tense as the others, so that an attempt to open the jaws can damage the teeth and result in a fracture of the lower jaw. Also, this measure is fraught with injuries for those who want to provide first aid: the jaws are compressed with such force that the epileptic can bite off the finger with which they want to open his mouth.

The risk of an epileptic biting off his own tongue is a harmful lie. This is the same muscle as all the others. When she is in a state of hypertonicity, the probability of biting off or dropping the tongue tends to zero.

Fourth, it is very important not to give the epileptic any medication, even if some medications are found in the patient’s pockets or bag. Under stress, it is easy to miscalculate the dosage, including a specially designed drug. You can also allow a situation in which the pill falls into the wrong throat. If the medicine harms, those who want to help will face criminal liability, even if they acted with the best of intentions.

What to do after an attack

After an epileptic seizure, the patient needs rest and rest, since during an attack the body depletes resources and needs to be replenished. Before the arrival of the ambulance team, provide the victim with complete comfort and psychological support. Try to rid him of all annoying factors and keep calm.

An ambulance should only be called if the seizure lasts more than 3 minutes or if it recurs. Also, professional help is needed if during an attack the patient injured himself, was injured or suffocated. After an epileptic seizure, the following actions should be performed:

  • put the patient on his side and let him rest for a few minutes;
  • if the attack happened in a crowded place, ask everyone to move away to ensure the psychological comfort of the victim;
  • if a person has involuntarily emptied his intestines or bladder, try to clean the place and remove dirty clothes;
  • notify relatives or friends of the patient about what happened, especially if it is a minor or an elderly person;
  • do not leave the patient for at least another 15-20 minutes, since the normalization of the condition does not occur immediately. Transport the victim home if he wants to.

It is important to understand that even the correct implementation of first aid cannot guarantee the absence of the risk of side complications. The patient immediately after the epileptic seizure should be placed in the neurology clinic of the Yusupov hospital, where the best neurologists of the capital will determine the diagnosis and prescribe concomitant treatment. Examinations in the hospital are carried out using modern European equipment, which allows you to get the most accurate results. Our medical staff is ready to provide first aid in emergencies throughout the day.

When to call an ambulance

To provide first aid for epilepsy, it is not always necessary to involve doctors. As a rule, attacks are transient. There are cases when compassionate citizens called the ambulance crew, but by the time they arrived, they had already left the scene on their own.

In addition, some of these situations occur several times a day. With such options, it is enough to know the basic principles of providing assistance, and if everything proceeds without complications, you can cope on your own.

In some situations, the help of medical specialists is vital for a patient with epilepsy.

The seizure happened for the first time in my life

You cannot be sure how an organism that has not experienced such an overstrain will react. It is quite possible that epilepsy is manifesting right now (it can be at any age). However, there is a danger that a seizure is a sign of some disease, the exacerbation of which requires the intervention of specialists of appropriate qualifications.

The victim is a child or an elderly person

The organisms of children and the elderly are most vulnerable to critical fluctuations in well-being. Even if everything goes as normal, only doctors will be able to give an accurate conclusion regarding the state of the body and further health risks.

Seizures in a pregnant woman

A neurological disease can be deadly for a baby in the womb. If a woman is late in pregnancy, then there is a danger of premature onset of labor.

There is a possibility of injury

During seizures, the patient may hit his head on a sharp corner or suffer during a fall. Even if it just seems to you that there is a risk of a craniocerebral or any other injury, it is better to call specialists and hold the patient in place until the time the doctors arrive.

The patient is unconscious for more than 10 minutes

It is important to check the clarity of the patient’s consciousness after an attack, to find out if he remembers his name or home address. If he does not regain consciousness on his own, you do not need to “help” him: beat him on the cheeks or splash water. It is also forbidden to try to bring people to life with such means as ammonia: any pungent odors can provoke a second attack, which, against the background of what has just been transferred, can cause significant harm to health.

Epilepsy always carries the risk of irreversible changes in brain structures. If a person is breathing, but does not regain consciousness for more than ten minutes, it is important to arrange professional medical care as soon as possible.

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