What is a Seizure?
- Abnormal electrical activity in the brain triggers seizure activity.
- A person may have a seizure disorder (epilepsy) and require medications.
- Other factors such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which is a diabetic reaction, may cause seizures.
- Meningitis or a head injury may also cause a seizure.
- Fainting can also cause a series of jerking movements as the person loses consciousness. These movements do not necessarily indicate a seizure.
- Symptoms range from jerking movements in a single extremity to abnormal movements throughout the entire body.
- Some seizures may cause lip smacking, behaviorisms, staring spells, or other symptoms depending on in which area of the brain the seizure cause originates.
- Seizures may affect bladder and bowel control, and a person experiencing a seizure often bites his or her own tongue.
- During and after the seizure, attempt to keep the person on his or her side to allow fluid to drain from the mouth.
- If the person falls, immobilize the head and neck. Beware of vomiting and turn the person to his or her side to prevent the inhalation of vomit into the lungs.
- After the seizure stops, allow the person to rest. A seizure often causes confusion and drowsiness for a period of minutes to hours.
When to Seek Medical Care for Seizure
- Seek medical care if it is a first-time seizure, if the person is injured, stops breathing, has multiple or continuous seizures without regaining consciousness, or if the seizure lasts longer than 10 minutes in someone known to have seizures.
- Finding the person's current medications is helpful for medical evaluation and treatment.
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Medically reviewed by Jon Glass, MD; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology
"Evaluation of the first seizure in adults"