Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/First aid/Epilepsy
Epilepsy, also known as seizures or fits, is a condition characterized by an abnormal focus of activity in the brain that produces severe motor responses or changes in consciousness. Fortunately, epilepsy can often be controlled by medications. Grand mal seizure is the more serious type of epilepsy. Grand mal seizure may be - but is not always - preceded by an aura. The victim soon comes to recognize these auras, which allows him time to lie down and prepare for the seizure’s onset. A burst of nerve impulses from the brain causes unconsciousness and generalized muscular contractions, often with loss of bladder and bowel control. The primary dangers in a grand mal seizure are tongue biting and injuries resulting from falls. A period of sleep or mental confusion follows this type of seizure. When full consciousness returns, the victim will have little or no recollection of the attack.
First aid is aimed at preventing the patient from injuring himself or herself. A tongue depressor or other type of padded gag should be placed between the patient’s teeth to prevent biting the tongue; however, this may not be possible if the jaws are clenched. Don’t force it. Never try to restrain a patient during convulsions; however, do not leave the patient alone. Loosen the clothing around the neck, and turn the head to the side to prevent the patient from inhaling saliva and mucus.