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    A seizure is caused by a very sudden burst of excess electrical activity in the brain. They are only temporary. The type of seizure depends on how big the burst is, where it is located within the brain and how rapidly it spreads through the brain.

    Seizures are a common symptom of epilepsy which is caused by a disturbance in the electrical activity in the brain.

    Although seizures can be frightening to see, they are not usually a medical emergency and once the seizure stops, the person recovers.

    Generalised Seizures

    Generalized tonic clonic seizures (grand mal seizures) are the most common and best known type of generalized seizure. They begin with stiffening of the limbs (the tonic phase), followed by jerking of the limbs and face (the clonic phase).

    Watch this video to see the first aid treatment for a generalised seizure

    Source: Epilepsy Action


    Treatment of a generalised seizure:

    During the seizure

    •   Ensure the casualty is safe
    •   Make a note of the time or ask someone when the seizure started
    •   Protect the casualty’s head with clothing and move any furniture away


    After the seizure

    •   Record how long the seizure lasted – call 999 if the seizure 5 mins or longer
    •   Loosen any tight clothing around the neck
    •   Check airway and breathing
    •   Place them into the recovery position
    •   Monitor airway and breathing


    You should call 999/112 if:

    • you know it’s the first time the casualty has had a seizure
    • the seizure lasts for more than five minutes
    • the casualty doesn’t regain full consciousness
    • the casualty has a series of seizures without regaining consciousness


    Signs and symptoms

    Sometimes, symptoms occur before the seizure takes place. These include:

    •  a sudden feeling of fear or anxiousness
    •  a feeling of being sick to your stomach
    •  dizziness
    •  a change in vision
    •   a jerky movement of the arms and legs that may cause you to drop things
    •   an out of body sensation
    •   a headache


    Symptoms that indicate a seizure is in progress include:

    •     losing consciousness, which is followed by confusion
    •      having uncontrollable muscle spasms
    •     drooling or frothing at the mouth
    •     falling
    •     having a strange taste in your mouth
    •     clenching your teeth
    •     biting your tongue
    •     having sudden, rapid eye movements
    •     making unusual noises, such as grunting
    •    having sudden mood changes


    Focal and absence Seizures

    A focal seizure is caused by electrical activity in a part of the brain. During these seizures, people may jerk or twitch in a localised region, smack their lips, pluck at their clothes, wander around or swallow repeatedly.

    An absence seizure makes the affected person seem as if they are daydreaming. Usually this lasts a few seconds and the person is unaware that it has happened.


    Treatment of focal or absence seizures:

    • Guide the casualty away from danger (such as roads or open water)
    • Stay with them until recovery is complete
    • Keep calm and reassure the casualty
    • Explain anything that they may have missed
    • Don’t restrain them
    • Don’t act in a way that could frighten them, such as making abrupt movements or shouting at them
    • Don’t assume they are aware of what is happening, or what has happened
    • Don’t give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered 


    You should call 999/112 if:

    • you know it’s the first time the casualty has had a seizure
    • the seizure lasts for more than five minutes
    • they are injured during the seizure