What you should do if someone has an epileptic seizure

In its simplest form, epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects your central nervous system – the part of your body that processes and interprets information, determines a response and transmits that response through the spinal cord to the right body part – helping you breathe, sweat, dance and even blink.

Epilepsy disturbs the normal signal flow, or activity, in the brain, resulting in abnormal behaviour, such as:

  • Seizures
  • Losing control of your bladder
  • Staring blankly
  • Jerking movements
  • Repetitive movements, like tapping your fingers

What causes seizures?

Doctors haven’t been able to pin down a specific trigger, as many seizures simply just happen – which is why there are such strict driving rules that apply to epileptics. There are a few things that may trigger a seizure, such as:

  • Using drugs
  • Abnormal levels of glucose and sodium in your body
  • Flashing lights such as strobe lights in a club
  • Lack of sleep
  • And even, for women – your period

Here’s what you need to do if you see someone having a seizure:

  1. Roll the person into the recovery position (on the side).
  2. Lie them on their side in case they vomit
  3. Keep them away from sharp edges to stop them from hurting themselves, and put something soft under their head.
  4. Remember, if a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or if more than one seizure occurs without the person regaining consciousness, contact emergency medical services on — 10177 — immediately.
  5. Stay with the person until help arrives

Here’s a quick demonstration:

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