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November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month and we have teamed up with the Seattle Children’s Hospital to give you some information about seizures in children.
The Seattle Children’s Hospital has an Epilepsy Program which offers promising options for children with epilepsy, and is the largest epilepsy program on the West Coast. If you know someone with epilepsy and would like to donate on their behalf to help the Seattle Children’s Hospital with their epilepsy program, consider a car donation through Donate-a-Car to their cause.
Few things make a parent feel more helpless than to watch a child have a seizure, which is often more traumatic for the adult than for the child. Some seizures are just short time-periods of being unresponsive and do not necessitate first aid treatment. Other seizure types are more frightening and intense. If your child is having clusters of seizures or more seizures than normal, seek medical attention. No matter the type of seizure, it’s important to remain calm and keep the child safe.
Here are some steps to take if a child is having an intense seizure.
- Keep Calm. It helps your child if you stay calm. Be reassuring to others around you that everything is okay.
- Prevent Injury. Keep your child away from areas that might be dangerous such as a hot stove, stairway, or busy street. Remove objects that are sharp and put something soft under his or her head. Do not hold your child down or try to stop his or her movements.
- Notice Seizure Length. If you can, note the time when it began and how long it lasts. If it goes on longer than five minutes, call 911. Paying attention to the length and nature of the seizure can help you give a correct reporting of it.
- Make Sure Airway is Open. If your child has food in his or her mouth, it is best not to try and take it out as this may actually push it farther inside. When possible, roll your child on their side so that anything in the mouth can drain out. Loosen any clothing that is tight, make sure your child can breath easy.
- Do Not Place Anything In Child’s Mouth. Some people are concerned that their child may swallow their tongue in a seizure, but that cannot happen as the tongue is attached to the base of their mouth. Putting anything in their mouth can result in choking or broken teeth.
- Keep People Away. Although some bystanders might be curious, they do not need to be around at this time. Only 1 or 2 people are needed for first aid help. You do not want your child to feel embarrassed or upset when he or she becomes conscious if several people are standing around watching.
- Wait Until Your Child is Fully Alert. Before giving your child a drink of water, food or any pills, be sure he or she is fully awake to prevent their choking. Ask some simple questions until you can determine that he or she is back to their usual state.
- Be Sensitive and Supportive. Your child will generally recover from their seizure by themselves. If your child’s age is appropriate, explain what happened. Give comfort as they need it and be reassuring. If there is anything to help your child clean up, then help them get clean and let them know that they couldn’t help it.
- Afterwards. If your child has minor pain afterwards, acetaminophen may help. If the pain is severe then take your child to the doctor. If there is a fever along with the seizure, there may be an infection that needs to be treated as well.