Getting to a safe place, avoiding danger, and notifying nearby people before a seizure begins can help keep someone safe during a seizure.
If a person is about to have a seizure, they may experience some warning signs.
It can be a change in sensation or feeling, for example:
strange smells, tastes or sounds
changes in vision
a sense of déjà vu
numbness, tingling or tingling
panic or feeling of intense fear
These symptoms can occur in the initial phase of a seizure, known as prodrome and aura. People can feel the warning signs of the seizure hours or even days before it happens. However, not everyone who has a seizure experiences these initial phases, and in some cases they do not feel any warning signs of the seizure.
This article outlines steps people can take if they feel a crisis is brewing.
Get to a safe place
If people feel they are about to have an epileptic seizure, there are steps they can take to protect themselves.
A person must:
Move to a safe area, away from objects that could cause injury or any slippery surface.
Stay away from any steep drop or any height from which one could fall.
Avoid climbing stairs or stay away from the top of stairs.
Turn off all cooking appliances and stay away from open flames.
If you are near a road, move away from the road and any moving vehicles.
If you are driving, pull over to a safe place and stop your vehicle.
If you are in a tub or shower, turn off the running water and get out of the tub or shower in a place where people are unlikely to slip or fall.
Stay away from any body of water, such as a pool, lake, or river.
Stop using and stay away from any dangerous machine or tool.
Take your medication
In some cases, people can use rescue medication to stop an attack. Rescue medications can help stop prolonged seizures or prevent emergency seizures.
Benzodiazepines are the most common type of rescue medication for seizures. In most cases, people will not need to use rescue medication because seizures are rare and daily medication helps usually to effectively control seizures. People can make a plan, called a crisis action plan, with a healthcare professional. This plan will detail the steps they and others can take to manage their crises. If people with photosensitive epilepsy are suddenly exposed to flashing lights, completely covering both eyes can help prevent a seizure.
To warn somebody
If a person feels a crisis is brewing, they can tell someone and, if possible, make sure someone stays with them. It is important for a person with epilepsy to tell trusted friends, family, teachers and co-workers. Knowledge can then learn how to recognize a crisis and what to do if it occurs. People with epilepsy can work with doctors to create a seizure action plan, which details what first aid to give in a seizure and how to respond. You can keep a copy of the action plan with you at all times and give a copy to the people responsible for carrying it out in the event of a crisis.
Sit or lie down
If a person senses that a seizure is coming, they can sit or lie down on the floor, so that they sit or lie on their side. People should make sure they are in a comfortable space with no hard or sharp objects around them. If possible, place something soft, like a pillow or a folded sweater, under your head. These measures can help reduce the risk of injury in the event of a crisis.
Loosen tight clothing
People should loosen any tight clothing around the neck, such as a button-down collar or tie. This will make it easier to breathe if a seizure occurs. You should also remove any glasses you wear. It can avoid injuries.
It is a good idea to carry emergency medical information with you. This can help others support her if she has a meltdown in a public place. Medical information, such as the crisis action plan, can be kept in a wallet, purse, or phone case, so it’s easily accessible. You can also wear a medical bracelet or pendant with emergency information.
Some people may have warning signs before a seizure, including unusual changes in mood and feelings. If people recognize these warning signs, they can go to a safe place, take the necessary precautions and inform those around them. To stay safe in a crisis, you can make a plan of action with a doctor, educate family members and trusted friends about first aid in a crisis, and always have about oneself medical information.