Medical professionals may sometimes not be able to determine when a person is having a seizure and, therefore, first responders may find it difficult to distinguish circumstances and behavior caused by epilepsy or other medical conditions; drug abuse, mental illness, alcohol use, mental retardation, etc.
NOTES - Although individuals may have a certain “type” of seizure, each individual may manifest it in different ways, which means not all seizures may look the same
NOTES - Again, 1 out of 10 individuals may have a single seizure in their lifetime that may never happen again – although this does not constitute epilepsy, it is still important to recognize the possibility of this occurring - Seizures occur most often in individuals under the age of 2 and over the age of 65
NOTES Do mention that people with seizures do work, have families, play sports and are productive members of society
NOTES - It is extremely important that patients take their medications consistently (note in the officer’s situation, this is important when they have arrested someone who happens to have seizures/epilepsy). Even missing one dose may cause a seizure.
NOTES - Example for common triggers for a seizure: pregnancy, college kids doing all-nighters, binge drinking, drug binges, alcohol withdrawal, etc
NOTES a key characteristic of a seizure it that is starts suddenly and many times without warning. Although the seizure itself ends suddenly, the patient may be slow to recover. Feelings a person may have after a seizure includes confusion, loss of memory for the seizure, difficulty speaking, headache and excessive sleepiness. There is also a MedAlert watch
2002 This graphic shows general measures to assist a person who is having a seizure. First, stay calm and reassure other people. Track how long the seizure lasts. Protect the person by helping them avoid hazards. Place something soft under the head (a coat, T-shirt or similarly appropriate item that’s handy); if the person is wearing glasses, remove them. Loosen any clothing that is tight-fitting around the neck. With a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, turn the person on one side to keep the airway clear. Check for an epilepsy or seizure disorder ID, and wait for the seizure to end. Understand that verbal instructions may not be obeyed. Finally, stay until the person is fully aware and help reorient them to their surroundings. Call an ambulance if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, unless you know that the person’s seizures typically last longer than 5 minutes. Remember, unless you are a primary caregiver who has been trained in use of a special medication, or you have been shown how to use a special VNS magnet, there is NOTHING you can do to stop a seizure -- it will run its own course. You CAN protect the person from injury, observe the seizure, call for an ambulance if necessary, and reassure others that this is just a seizure and everything will be just fine in a few moments. NOTE: If asked, the medication is diazepam rectal gel (Diastat) or a liquid form of diazepam for rectal administration. It is for family/caregiver/nurse use only, not a casual first aid. Question: Sometimes things we would do with good intentions can actually be dangerous to the person having a seizure. Can you think of things that may be harmful?
2002 There are several common responses to a generalized tonic-clonic seizure that may be extremely harmful to the person experiencing a seizure. Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. One of the most common myths about providing first aid to persons experiencing seizures is that you must put something in their mouths to prevent them from swallowing their tongues. In fact, this is one of the most harmful, unnecessary responses to a tonic-clonic seizure. The person’s tongue is attached and cannot be swallowed. Any object placed in the mouth could do serious harm -- such as breaking teeth or jaw. Even worse, the object may block the person’s airway. Do not attempt to give the person antiseizure medication by mouth, and do not give food or drink until the person is fully aware. Finally, do not hold down or restrain movement. During a seizure the brain is sending instructions to various parts of the body. Even if that part of the body is restrained, for instance an arm or leg, it will still follow the instruction(s) received from the brain. Outside restraint could thus lead to sprained or torn muscles or even a broken bone. Finally, do not keep the person on his back, facing up throughout the convulsion. This may increase the risk that the person will inhale (aspirate) gastric fluids and suffocate.
Epilepsy Presentation, Myeshi Briley
(Myeshi Briley) ( Education Presenter for Epilepsy Foundation ) (2010) EPILEPSY An estimated 350,000 African Americans have epilepsy
What Is Epilepsy? <ul><li>Epilepsy is characterized by a person having two or more unprovoked seizures. </li></ul><ul><li>Epilepsy is also known as a </li></ul><ul><li>“ seizure disorder.” </li></ul><ul><li>Epilepsy is the most common </li></ul><ul><li>neurological disorder in the world. </li></ul>
What Are Seizures? <ul><li>The majority of seizures are either convulsions or brief alterations of consciousness during which movements are vague, non-threatening, and random. </li></ul><ul><li>In rare cases, a seizure will take the form of screaming, running, and flailing movements that are random and reflective, which are not directed at anyone or anything. </li></ul>
What Does Epilepsy Look Like? <ul><li>There are over 20 different types of seizures. </li></ul><ul><li>Each “seizure type” has its own unique characteristics. </li></ul><ul><li>A person with epilepsy may have more than one “seizure type.” </li></ul>
Seizure Types <ul><li>Generalized Seizures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve the whole brain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common types include absence and tonic-clonic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Symptoms may include convulsions, staring, muscle spasms and falls </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Partial Seizures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Involve only part of the brain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common types include simple partial and complex partial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Symptoms relate to the part of the brain affected </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>An estimated 3 million Americans suffer from epilepsy-related seizures. </li></ul>Epilepsy Is More Common Than You Might Think
Who Has Epilepsy? <ul><li>In the U.S. that translates to… </li></ul><ul><li>326,000 children under age 14 </li></ul><ul><li>570,000 seniors </li></ul><ul><li>200,000 new cases per year </li></ul>An estimated 350,000 African Americans have epilepsy 1 out of 10 people will have a seizure in their lifetime . 1 out of 100 people have epilepsy .
<ul><li>Epilepsy is NOT … </li></ul><ul><li>contagious. </li></ul><ul><li>a mental illness. </li></ul><ul><li>demonic possession. </li></ul><ul><li>a type of mental retardation. </li></ul><ul><li>a sign of low intelligence. </li></ul>Let’s Get Rid of Misconceptions!
More Myths About Epilepsy <ul><li>In a nationwide survey of youth — </li></ul><ul><li>Most believed that people die from seizures. </li></ul><ul><li>Almost half thought that seizures might be contagious. </li></ul><ul><li>The majority believed that epilepsy is or might be a mental illness. </li></ul><ul><li>Many teens were not sure if people with epilepsy attended regular classes. </li></ul>
How Do You Get Epilepsy? Known Causes: head trauma, brain infection, stroke, drug/alcohol, Alzheimer’s disease, tumors, toxins, birth trauma. Idiopathic: no clear cause but believed to arise from combination of genetics & environment. 70% 30%
Seizure Triggers… MISSED MEDICATION Anti-epileptic drugs must be maintained at proper levels in order to be effective!
Seizure Triggers… Stress, anger, anxiety Overstimulation, excitement Fatigue , lack of sleep Hormonal Alcohol, drug abuse
Seizure Triggers… Heat, dehydration Illness Hyperventilation Extreme heat or cold Flashing or flickering light
Other Clues to a Seizure <ul><li>Previously normal behavior followed by a sudden onset of erratic movements, sounds or jerking </li></ul><ul><li>MedAlert bracelet or necklace present </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-epileptic medication found on person </li></ul><ul><li>Bystanders who are aware of person’s seizure history </li></ul><ul><li>Patient announced that he was experiencing an aura (warning) </li></ul>
<ul><li>Stay calm and track time </li></ul><ul><li>Do not restrain the person, but help them avoid hazards </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect head, remove glasses, loosen tight neckwear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Move anything hard or sharp out of the way </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Turn person on one side, position mouth to ground </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Check for epilepsy or seizure disorder ID </li></ul><ul><li>Understand that verbal instructions may not be obeyed </li></ul><ul><li>Stay until person is fully aware and help reorient them </li></ul><ul><li>Call ambulance if seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or if it is unknown whether the person has had prior seizures </li></ul>What If Someone Has a Seizure?
<ul><li>DO NOT </li></ul><ul><li>Put anything in the person’s mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Try to hold down or restrain the person </li></ul><ul><li>Attempt to give oral anti-seizure medication </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the person on their back face up throughout convulsion </li></ul>Potentially Dangerous Responses to Seizures
We can all help in the fight for epilepsy awareness in the African American community!