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Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a disease, often involving the young, where the patient has repeated episodes of convulsions. Epilepsy patients are in danger of hurting themselves when they fall down, when they bite their tongue or may either aspirate or even asphyxiate during the episode.

How to identify a seizure or convulsion?

Minor Seizure

Here the patient may become pale, the eyes become fixed and staring and he may become unconscious for a few seconds. He soon resumes his work as though nothing has happened. Here the only precaution to be taken is to observe if the patient is progressing into a major epileptic attack and to treat as for a fainting spell.

Major Seizure

This kind of seizure may follow headache, restlessness or a feeling of dullness.The patient may be aware that he is likely to have a fit soon. The fit itself is divided into four phases:

  • Phase I - Sudden loss of consciousness which causes the patient to fall to the ground. The patient may cry or scream.

  • Phase II - The body becomes rigid for a few seconds and the face becomes flushed.

  • Phase III - The fits begin in full force. The patient may injure himself by striking himself hard against nearby objects. There is frothing at the mouth and the tongue may be bitten. The patient may pass urine or motion during this phase.

  • Phase IV - The attack lasts for a few minutes and then the convulsion stops. The patient appears dazed and confused. He may lapse into slumber or may act in a strange manner for a few hours without knowing the exact nature of his actions. After a few hours he becomes normal again.


Management of a Convulsing Patient
  • Try to keep the patient under control. Do not use force to stop the convulsions. Remove any objects in the vicinity that may cause injury to the convulsing patient.

  • Prevent the biting of the tongue by inserting a spoon wrapped in a handkerchief near the back teeth, when the jaws are relaxed.

  • Wipe the froth from the mouth.

  • Follow the general rules for treating an unconscious patient.

  • Watch for recurrence, if any. Do not leave the patient until you are sure that he is aware of his surroundings. Advise the patient to see a doctor soon.


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