What would you do if a person in the train standing next to you suddenly goes rigid, falls down and starts twitching?

This is a serious situation. Seizures happening more than once is a characteristic of epilepsy. This is due to the malfunctioning of the electric signals in the brain. According to a study, there are nearly 10 million epilepsy sufferers in India. 1.9 percent of people in rural areas and 0.6 percent people in urban areas are estimated to have epilepsy.

what is Epilepsy?

Our brains send messages to our bodies through electric signals. Sometimes these signals get scrambled and there is a sudden increase of electric activity in the brain. That’s the reason for an epileptic seizure. This may be due to a stroke, a brain injury that happened previously or a lack of oxygen during the birth of the patient. Most times, the reason for a person having epilepsy is unknown.

When someone has a seizure, they go rigid and shake uncontrollably. They may or may not be aware of themselves and their surroundings. However, the symptoms all very and sometimes, epilepsy is present only for a period or a certain life stage for some people.

It is difficult to diagnose epilepsy. However, doctors may take a blood test or an EEG to record brain activity or a brain scan. Anti-epileptic drugs then are prescribed to reduce the seizures. Brain surgery might be done in serious cases and ketogenic diet might be recommended for children.

What to do if someone has an epileptic seizure?

In case of a person having a seizure, that is, if they go stiff, jerk wildly and turn blue around the mouth as their breathing isn’t sufficient, consider the following guidelines.

  1. Don’t let them injure themselves on any sharp or hard object nearby.
  2. Cushion their head.
  3. Time how long they have the seizure for.
  4. Help them breathe after they have stopped jerking by making them lie on the side, with a hand under the head.
  5. Don’t restrain them, move them or put anything in their mouth.
  6. Call the ambulance if their seizure goes on for more than 5 minutes or if they are hurt.
  7. Stay calm and be reassuring. Stay with the patient till they are recovered.

It isn’t easy to deal with an epileptic attack. However, stay calm and calm the patient as well. It won’t do to panic and also scare the patient. Seek help if you feel unsure and worried.

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