If nobody in your family has had a seizure, consider yourself among the lucky few. Seizures are, in fact, very common.
If you care for an elderly, what will you do to provide immediate support? If you cannot do it properly, you should consider the experts from a home care agency.
Before we go to the first aid tips, let us first go through on what the symptoms are pre-seizure, so you are one step ahead when it happens.
Symptoms of an impending seizure
Seizures can strike suddenly, but people who often have them may recognize certain feelings that warn them of an impending seizure. The challenge with the elderly is that often, they are beset with age-related communication problems, and so they struggle to express what they feel.
The pre-seizure “aura” refers to the vague feeling that a person will just “know” a seizure will happen. Some symptoms include a person feeling agitated but unable to pinpoint why, like something has happened before, suddenly pleased at something, and scared of something. The person may also suddenly have blurred vision, nausea, tingling, a recurring smell, taste, or sound that others cannot experience, and a dizzy spell. These are some of the most common symptoms that people feel before having a seizure.
It can be a scary experience to witness a seizure, especially if you haven’t seen one before. It is even scarier if you are the only go-to person when that happens.
First aid tips
Here then are first aid tips that can help you when you have to respond to someone experiencing a seizure:
1. Do not restrain the person because you might inadvertently hurt the person, or get hurt yourself.
2. Do not put anything in the individual’s mouth, assuming this will prevent having the person bite or swallow the tongue. The latter is impossible, and the former may happen, but it is not as severe as the person’s jaw getting locked.
3. Do not do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). People usually get back to normal breathing once seizure is over.
4. Help the person lie down gently on the floor.
5. Put soft padding under the individual’s head.
6. Turn the person on the side to prevent choking in case vomiting occurs.
7. Remove eyeglasses, neckties, pens, and other hard and sharp objects that may injure the person.
8. If a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call for emergency help immediately.
A seizure is a complex medical phenomenon, but seizure first aid can be learned by everyone. The main thing that first aiders need to focus on is to keep the patients from injuring themselves. Bring them to a safe and clean place, put away all objects that might hurt them, and be with them until the seizure is over and they have fully regained consciousness.
Seniors are harder to manage for seizures because they are often beset by dementia in which they become disoriented and confused. It can be hard to have them cooperate, and even more difficult to manage them post-seizure. But if you keep your focus and stay calm, you can let the seizure episode pass. Once over, seek medical assistance immediately.