Helping Someone with Seizures – Treatment and Management of Neurological Issues

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HELPING SOMEONE WITH SEIZURES

If you are traveling with someone who has a seizure disorder, make sure you understand what his seizures look like (an absence seizure may resemble someone lost in thought whereas a generalized tonic-clonic seizure results in

complete loss of body control, convulsions, and unconsciousness). Ask him what to do in the event a seizure occurs.

Most seizures are brief, so if you happen to arrive on the scene of a seizure, it will usually be after the seizure has taken place and the individual is recovering. If the victim is in a dangerous area when a seizure begins, move him as quickly as possible to a safe area. Encourage the victim to sit comfortably and recover. When he’s fully responsive, you can begin to discuss what happened. Symptoms of a seizure include repetitive movements of the limbs and inability to respond when spoken to. Seizures that go on for more than three minutes or seizures in pregnant women require immediate medical attention.

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BUSHCRAFT TIP

High altitudes, particularly cold atmospheres, can cause seizures even in people who do not have a known seizure disorder and can exacerbate seizures in those who do. Stress, fatigue, and other illnesses or injuries can make a person with seizure disorder more likely to experience a seizure.

If someone is suffering a seizure, start as you would with any injury. Check the airway for blockage. If the seizure has stopped, there’s a good chance the victim is breathing heavily and that his heart rate has increased. If these don’t start to come back down after a few minutes, something besides the seizure may be going on.

Once the seizure has passed and the affected individual is recovering, perform a physical exam, LOR (level of responsiveness), SAMPLE history, and assess for weakness or loss of sensation in body parts. Keep the patient warm and follow the same procedures you would if he were in shock. Evacuate immediately if the cause of the seizure is unknown or uncertain, the seizure accompanies illness or injury, recovery is delayed, or status epilepticus occurs (that is, seizures continue without recovery between them).

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