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Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can affect anyone at any age. It’s characterized by recurring and unpredictable seizures. Some people are born with it – others experience it after a traumatic brain injury, stroke or brain tumor. Sometimes, doctors don’t know what causes it.
There are three major groups of seizures – general onset, focal onset and unknown onset. Symptoms vary and can include staring spells, fluttering eyes, loss of consciousness, and potentially dangerous convulsions and uncontrollable stiffening.
Watching a friend or loved one experience a seizure can be intimidating and create a feeling of helplessness. Staring spells don’t necessarily need any intervention, but severe muscle jerking requires action.
It’s important to be prepared so you can respond swiftly and safely.
Dr. Aaron Farrow with Mercy Clinic Neurology has five things you need know about “Seizure First Aid.”
Some people with epilepsy have rescue medications that can be given during a seizure. Ask your friend or loved one if they have medication, where they keep it and when to use it.
After a seizure, your friend or loved one may feel “out of it” for about an hour, so keep a close eye on them. If they aren’t back to normal or “baseline” after an hour, call 911. Or if they have a seizure, the seizure is over, and they have another seizure, call 911.
Encourage your friend to talk to their doctor after a seizure. The doctor can adjust medications to help avoid more seizures in the future.
Dr. Aaron Farrow is a neurologist practicing at Mercy Clinic Neurology in Oklahoma City. Learn more.