Sudden Medical Emergencies “Part 3 – Seizures”

Sudden Medical Emergencies “Part 3 – Seizures”

Another common forms of sudden medical emergency is a Seizure, a seizure is a sudden temporary alteration of brain function leading to spontaneous movement or absence of consciousness. Abnormal electrical signals in the brain result in disturbed brain function, shaking, contraction of limbs and altered personality / consciousness are common.

In many cases a seizure is “Not life threatening it iswhere it happened” or “what caused” the seizure that can lead to a potentially life threatening event. A seizure from a fever “Febrile” or having a seizure in water, while walking down stairs, or even from a drug overdose / withdrawal may become life threatening. In many cases the seizure will pass on its own within a few moments, if the seizure last longer than 3-5 minutes, happens repeatedly, or if potentially life threatening event may have caused it, call 911 and never waste time.


  • – Head Injuries
  • – Fever as known as “Febrile seizure
  • – Certain Medical Condition “Epilepsy
  • – Poisons “including drugs
  • – Drug or alcohol withdrawal
  • – Heat Stroke
  • – Certain Video games or other audiovisual stimulation that involves flashes
  • – Infection
  • – Preeclampsia / Eclampsia during pregnancy

Signs and Symptoms of Seizure:

  • – Uncontrollable muscle movement
  • – Eye rolling upward, back into the head
  • – Drool or foam in the mouth
  • – Absent stare with no ability to rouse the patient
  • – Appearance of daydreaming
  • – Hallucinations such as seeing, hearing, tasting or smelling something that doesn’t actually exist.
  • – A sense of urgency to get to safety
  • – Convulsions


  • – Follow the guidelines from your health care provider if you are known to have epilepsy or regular seizures.
  • – If you have seizures, take your prescribed medication regularly.
  • – If a child has a fever, make sure it doesn’t get too high, if a child’s fever is higher than a fever caused by a normal cold or flu, seek medical attention immediately.
  • – Limit the amount of time spent playing video games

Baby or Child with a Fever over 39 C (102 F)

  • -Young children or babies with a high fever can have seizures “Febrile”. In most cases these are not life-threatening and they do not last long. However the child or baby should be taken to emergency immediately to prevent further potential brain injury.
  • -Normal Body Temperature = 37 C (98.6 F)

What to do:

1) Give the child medication recommended by the child’s doctor to reduce the fever.

2) Give the child a sponge bath with water that is “room temperature” (not icy cold) – Ice cold water during a fever may cause the patient to go into shock.

3) Provide continual care by seeking a medical direction.

(NOTE) These steps only “temporarily” lower the temperature, “seek medical attention immediately.”

How to help a Seizure:

1) Check the area, once the area is safe, Check the person and ensure the persons ABC’s are present “Airway / Breathing / CirculationREMEMBERWear gloves if available to avoid bodily fluids. (NEVER PUT ANYTHING IN THE PERSONS MOUTH”

2) Call 911 and get an AED if you are alone, you suspect a Head / Neck or Spine injury, there is a motor vehicle collision, dangerous environment or the injured persons life could be at risk.

3) Care for the Seizure casualty by:

Always follow recommendations by your Emergency Response professionals and 911 Dispatch personnel. “Never endanger yourself or the victim, you may “not” need to move or roll the injured person”

  • – If there are other life threatening injuries, treat those first as quickly as possible with as little movement to the injured person.
  • NEVER PUT ANYTHING IN THE PERSONS MOUTH – The patient will “not” swallow their tongue.

a) Do not restrain the patient – allow the person to move without restraint.

b) Protect the person from injury by moving furniture, protecting the person’s head with blankets and keep other dangers away from the person.

After the seizure “Postictal”:

1) Ensure the person’s ABC’s are present

2) Perform a secondary survey and treat any non-life threatening conditions. Make sure there aren’t any fluids in the person’s mouth, place the person in the recovery position, keep the person comfortable and warm.

(NOTE) Many patents will feel ill, thirsty and disoriented, help re-hydrate the patient with high electrolyte drinks, find a position of comfort, and rest. Seek medical attention if the seizure returns.

While you wait for an ambulance:

RECOVERY Position:

1) Kneel Beside the victim and place the victims furthest arm from you above their head.

2) Place the arm closest to you across the victims chest as a protector arm.

3) The Key is in their Knee, bend the nearest leg up at the knee.

4) Carefully slip your hand under the hollow of the victims neck to support the Head Neck & Spine, at the same time use your forearm by slipping it carefully under the shoulder for leverage.

5) Place your free hand on the Key Knee and gently roll the victim away from you by applying steady pressure against the knee and shoulder at the same time. The victims head should rest on their raised arm.

6) To secure the position pull the key knee further up and bring their protector arm out to use the elbow to stabilize the position.

7) Check the Airway to make sure their still breathing.

We never know what can happen, its always good to be prepared and have the knowledge we need to help those who need it.

“This material is for information purposes only and is taken from The Canadian Red Cross / Alberta Heart & Stroke Foundation & Alberta Health Services. This information should not be used in place of medical, Technical advice, instructor, and/or treatment. If you have questions, speak to your local Physician or Safety Training Facility.”

Just Remember:

Protect Yourself!!! Call 911!!! Don’t Waste Time!!!

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