6 dangerous mistakes when giving first aid to epileptic patients – VnExpress

Inserting objects into the patient to prevent tongue biting, gripping the patient’s body to control convulsions can be life-threatening.

Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system that occurs when there is simultaneous stimulation of a group of neurons of the cerebral cortex leading to sudden, uncontrolled electrical discharges. According to statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide, is one of the most common neurological diseases globally. The prevalence of epilepsy in the population is estimated at 0.5-1%.

Manifestations of the disease are seizures, with diverse clinical manifestations, depending on the location of the epileptic foci in the brain and the extent of its spread. Of these, generalized convulsive seizures are often the most severe manifestations. The patient may fall to the ground, rolling eyes, stiffening, convulsions, shortness of breath, sometimes accompanied by incontinence, tongue biting, bubbling of the mouth occurring within minutes. In addition, seizures may manifest as partial seizures, altered consciousness (the patient may stand stunned), altered sensations or senses, etc.

Seizures come on suddenly with the usual manifestation of convulsions. Illustration: Shutterstock

The patient can have a seizure anywhere, at home, in the office, on the road, on the bus, at the swimming pool… Therefore, it is necessary to equip the patient with first aid knowledge. Dr. Le Van Tuan, a neurologist, Tam Anh General Hospital, notes some common mistakes when giving first aid to epilepsy patients as follows:

Crowd gathering around sick people

Many people out of curiosity gathered to observe, forming a crowd around epilepsy patients. This is absolutely not recommended because the patient needs an open environment to breathe, increase blood circulation and oxygen to the brain. The gathering will inadvertently take away the necessary amount of oxygen, making the air more stuffy and stressful.

Doctor Tuan advises to have only one or two support people directly beside the patient. Others can watch from a distance to assist when needed. The gathering of many people makes the first aid process difficult, increasing the risk of spreading dangerous infectious diseases.

Improperly moving the patient

Pulling, pulling, or tugging on someone who is having a seizure can make the condition worse. Therefore, it is necessary to limit the movement of sick people unless they are in dangerous areas such as swimming, moving on the road, on stairs, near sharp objects… If they have to move, they need to be very light. gently to ensure patient safety. The general rule is that when giving first aid, we need to be aware of the surrounding dangers for the patient such as falls, suffocation, burns, electric shock…

Clamp the patient’s body to control the convulsion

One of the most common mistakes made when giving first aid to a person having a seizure is trying to hold onto the patient’s limbs to control the seizure. Not only is this ineffective, but it can also lead to dislocations, fractures, and even more severe seizures.

Dr. Tuan said, usually the seizure will go away on its own, so we should leave their body free in a safe area. When the seizure is over, the convulsion also gradually decreases, stopping completely after a few minutes.

Put objects in your mouth to prevent biting your tongue

When detecting a patient having a seizure, many people think that putting something in their mouth (such as fingers, spoon, chopsticks, pen…) will help the patient avoid biting their tongue. However, this is an unnecessary action, and it can even be dangerous for the patient.

Doctor Tuan said that in a state of convulsion, the tongue does not stick out, but often drops slightly inward, so the risk of the patient biting the tongue is very little, usually the patient bites on the side of the tongue. In addition, during a seizure, the patient’s teeth will be clenched tightly, so do not pry the patient’s teeth to insert foreign objects into the mouth. This can cause temporomandibular joint dislocation, tooth fracture, gum damage. In some cases, the patient can break the object, swallow the debris into the throat, cause suffocation, leading to death.

Putting hard objects into the mouth of a person having a seizure can be dangerous.

Putting hard objects into the mouth of a person having a seizure can be dangerous.

Artificial respiration for the patient

People who are having a seizure can still breathe on their own, so artificial respiration for them is not necessary. Instead, try to make it easier for the patient to breathe by creating a well-ventilated environment. After the convulsion, place the patient on his side so that sputum or vomit can flow out, without causing airway obstruction or aspiration.

Squeeze a lemon into the patient’s mouth to prevent seizures

The concept of squeezing a lemon into a patient’s mouth to prevent seizures has no scientific basis at all. Many people think that by squeezing lemons into their mouths, the patients will stop having seizures, but the reality is that the seizures stop on their own whether lemon is squeezed or not. Squeezing lemons can be dangerous because the patient is losing consciousness, unable to swallow, causing aspiration into the lungs and respiratory failure. Similarly, patients should not be given water or medication until they are fully awake.

How to give first aid to a seizure

When you see someone having a seizure, try to stay calm, don’t scream or panic.

– Call for support.

– Ask people around to back away, not to gather around the sick person.

Gently help the patient lie down on a safe surface such as a bed or floor. Place the patient’s head on a pillow/soft cloth, and after the seizure, tilt the patient’s head to one side so that if the patient vomits, it will not aspirate into the lungs.

– Loosen clothing, remove items that may pose a danger to the patient (scarves, ties, etc.), clean up the surrounding area, ensure that the patient is not near sharp objects, fragile, flammable…

– Try to monitor the duration of the seizure, the symptoms during the seizure – preferably video recording if convenient (patient has unilateral or bilateral convulsion, eye roll, twitching, foaming at the mouth). , urinary incontinence…) to describe the patient’s healthcare provider or family member.

Seizures usually resolve within 1-2 minutes. The patient begins to regain consciousness and is able to breathe normally. In case the convulsion lasts more than 5 minutes; having multiple seizures in a row; Patients who have difficulty breathing, pain, or do not regain consciousness after a seizure should call 911 immediately for hospitalization.

Le Nguyen


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