Could you be in the right place at the right time to help someone with epilepsy?
It's time to start T.A.L.K.ing about epilepsy and dispel some of the myths and misinformation that is still out there.
Have you heard of the old chestnut of putting a wooden spoon, or anything else, in the mouth? Forget it! You can't physically swallow your tongue. Do you know that there are many types of seizures, not all of them are instantly recognisable?
Make it your business to learn about epilepsy, find out how to spot a seizure, how to keep someone safe, and potentially save their life.
time the seizure
are airways clear
lead to safety
Check the time to see how long the seizure lasts. Once a seizure starts it will usually stop on its own. If the seizure lasts for 5 minutes or longer call an ambulance.
Maintain the person's airway by tilting the head slightly back. This applies to a tonic clonic seizure only. Once convulsions have stopped, check the mouth for anything which could block the person's airways, such as loose dentures or dislodged food. Loosen tight clothing around the neck. Turn the person on to their side into the recovery position as soon as the jerking stops.
Call an ambulance if you suspect they may have inhaled food or liquid.
Stay with the person to make sure they are safe. Wait until they have fully recovered and their breathing has returned to normal. Move any objects that may cause injury and only move the person if they are in danger eg, on a busy road or at the top of stairs. Turn the person on to their side into the recovery position as soon as the jerking stops.
Stop other people from crowding around and protect the person's privacy. Keep calm. Call an ambulance if the person has injured themselves, if they may have inhaled food or drink, or if you are concerned about the person's recovery.
Speak softly and gently when you explain what has happened, remember the person might still be confused by the seizure.
Do not move the person unless they are in danger, eg on a busy road or at the top of stairs
Do not try to stop the jerking or restrain the person
Do not put anything in the person's mouth or between their teeth
Do not offer the person anything to eat or drink until they are fully conscious
If you think it is the person's first seizure
If the person has injured themselves beyond first aid
If you suspect they have inhaled food or liquid
If the jerking lasts more than 5 minutes or longer than is usual for that person
If one seizure follows another with no recovery time in between
If the person has problems breathing after the seizure