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The brain works on electrical activity and when there is a mix up in the normal electrical activity in the brain, the sudden burst of electrical activity this leads to seizures. There around 600,000 in the UK living with Epilepsy

The type of seizure you have and what happens to you during a seizure depends on which part of the brain the unusual electrical activity starts and how much of your brain is affected by it.

Those who are diagnosed with Epilepsy usually take medication that controls the seizures, unfortunately these drugs don’t work for everyone and this may be a reason why as a First Aider you are called to assist someone having a fit.


Generalised seizures

Involve both halves of the brain and the muscles may stiffen or jerk and the person may fall down. The person goes stiff, loses consciousness and then falls to the ground. This is followed by jerking movements. A blue tinge around the mouth is likely. This is due to irregular breathing. Loss of bladder and/or bowel control may happen. After a minute or two the jerking movements should stop and consciousness may slowly return.


Focal seizures

Affect specific areas of the brain and as such cause various symptoms. Where the Temporal region is affected for example the person may feel frightened, having a strange taste, or smelling something that isn’t there, be staring or smacking their lips.


First Aid for Generalised seizures

  • → Protect the person from injury by removing anything they may bang into, protect the head with a cushion or soft object like a coat
  • → Look for an alert card or jewellery that tells you the person has epilepsy
  • → Time how long the seizure lasts for and how long they are unconscious for after the shaking stops
  • → Once the seizure has stopped place them into the recovery position

Do not:

  • → Try to stop the persons shaking
  • → Put anything in their mouth
  • → Move them unless they are in danger
  • → Attempt to bring them round
  • → Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered


Call for an ambulance if:

  • → They have a second seizure without fully recovering from the first
  • → They appear to have hurt themselves
  • → The seizure lasts for more than five minutes
  • → You believe they may need urgent medical attention


First Aid for a Focal seizure

Sometimes the person may not be aware of their surroundings or what they are doing. They may pluck at their clothes; smack their lips, swallow repeatedly, and wander around.

  • → Gently guide the person from danger
  • → Stay with the person until recovery is complete
  • → Be calmly reassuring
  • → Explain anything that they may have missed

Do not:

  • → Restrain the person
  • → Act in a way that could frighten them, such as making abrupt movements or shouting at them
  • → Assume the person is aware of what is happening, or what has happened
  • → Give the person anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
  • → Attempt to bring them round


Call for an ambulance if:

  • → You know it is the person’s first seizure
  • → The seizure continues for more than five minutes
  • → The person is injured during the seizure
  • → You believe the person needs urgent medical attention

Following seizures a person may be confused and frightened, comfort and reassure them until they are fully recovered.

Epilepsy Action have an informative website and provide advice for those looking for more information about Epilepsy and support for those with this condition , please visit and show your support. The information for this blog was taken from this website.

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