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Convulsions, or seizures, happen due to abnormal electrical discharges in the brain, which lead to involuntary contraction of various muscles in the body. Usually, seizures last only a few seconds, but they can also last 2 to 5 minutes and happen several times in a row.
During a seizure it is advised that:
- Lay the person on the floor to avoid falling during the seizure;
- Place the person on their side to prevent them from choking on their own tongue or vomiting;
- Give the person space by moving away objects that are close and that could cause injury, such as tables or chairs;
- Loosen tight clothing if possible, especially around the neck, such as shirts or ties;
- Keep calm and wait for the crisis to pass.
Seizure episodes can happen in some people due to illnesses such as epilepsy, but it can also happen due to low blood sugar, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol and even high fever. Learn more about the seizure and why it happens.
Generally, the seizure is not serious and does not affect he alth, however, it is important to go to the hospital to identify the cause and start the most appropriate treatment, especially if the person has not yet been diagnosed with any disease that may cause this kind of symptom.
What not to do
During a seizure, avoid:
- Attempting to immobilize the person or tie the limbs as this may result in fractures or other injuries;
- Put your hand over the person's mouth, as well as objects or cloths;
- Give the person food or drink until the person is fully alert, even if a drop in blood sugar is suspected.
After the seizure it is normal for the person to feel confused and not remember what happened, so it is also very important not to abandon the person until they fully regain consciousness, even if the seizures have already ended.
How to identify a seizure
The most typical sign of a seizure is the presence of sudden and uncontrolled movements of the whole body. However, there are cases where a person can have a seizure without having this type of muscle contraction, depending on the region of the brain where the electrical discharges are occurring.
Thus, other symptoms that may indicate a seizure include:
- Loss of consciousness with fainting;
- Increased saliva production;
- Loss of sphincter control;
- Looking away or staring at the top or side.
Furthermore, the person may also become apathetic, unresponsive even when directly contacted.