What is seizure?
A Seizure or convulsion is a brief period of unconsciousness or altered consciousness. It may be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms: falling; muscle spasms; drooling or frothing at the mouth, loss of bladder or bowel control , a temporary halt in breathing. Seizures may occur in anyone, irrespective of the age. It can be a terrifying sight when a person suffers a seizure and most often the family members or attendants of the person do not know what to do. A seizure struck person does not respond. Panic and alarm are the first reactions but an understanding of the underlying mechanism can go a long way in alleviating anxiety.
What causes them?
Our brain is an enormously huge and complex network of electrical circuits. Seizures are the result of abnormal activity in one area of this circuit which causes abnormal currents to spread to the rest of the brain. The result is a seizure with its attendant physical and/or behavioral manifestations. Seizures are associated with many medical conditions. Most convulsion in infants and toddlers are caused by fever. Though they are terrifying to parents, these seizures are usually brief and rarely cause lasting damage. Seizures may also be caused by gastrointestinal disease, poisoning , head injury, brain disease such as a tumor , and rarely, breath-holding during a tantrum. Repeated convulsions might turn out to be an indicator to a chronic condition, epilepsy.
What to do ?
As most emergencies keeping the airways open in the primary goal during a seizure. Blocked passages may deprive the brain of oxygen, leading to brain damage. Your goal is to keep him from hurting himself. If the child is having trouble breathing his airway may be blocked. Place him face down or on his side to allow secretions to drain and the tongue to come forward. If the child is not breathing , or if his lips start to turn blue indicating that the blood is not getting sufficient Oxygen, make sure the airway is clear and then give mouth- to- mouth resuscitation. If the child is breathing without difficulty, place him on the ground or floor in a safe area. Move all objects away from him, and place cushions around his head if possible. Loosen tight clothing . It is important not to force and wedge his mouth open or place an object between his teeth, and do not attempt to restrain his movements.
When to call a Doctor
If breathing is normal and the seizure lasts just a few minutes, you can wait until it has subsided ,then call your doctor. If breathing is troubled , or the seizure lasts longer than a few minutes, you should get him to a hospital . You should also get immediate medical attention if you suspect your child has ingested poison, which should be considered if he is a toddler and has not had a fever. Following the seizure , the child will probably fall into a deep sleep. This is normal , and you should not try to wake him. Do not attempt to give him food or drink until he is awake and alert. Also he may be a little confused, may not be properly oriented and may complain of body ache. All these conditions may take a couple of hours to one day in order to improve. A seizure caused by fever may be followed by another ,if the child still feels hot, give him fever-control medicine like Acetamenophen(Paracetamol), and cool him by sponging. This is especially important in order to prevent more seizures on way to the hospital. After a seizure particularly if it is a first or unexplained one- call your doctor or emergency medical service for instructions . Your child may need to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible.