Seizures
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What to do when you are having a seizure!
By Terri Armstrong, RN, MS, NP, CS
Neuro-Oncology Nurse Practitioner
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia


(Last Updated June 7, 2000)
You (a brain tumor patient) are at risk for seizures.
This is a guide to management of seizures at home. Seizures can be frightening for the person having the seizure or anyone witnessing it. Here are important steps to take if a seizure does occur at home.
  • FOR THE PERSON WITH SEIZURES: Remain calm! If you sense that a seizure may occur (called an *aura*), let someone know . If you are standing, sit down. If you are working with any tools or equipment, move away from it.
  • FOR THE COMPANION:If you are with the person having the seizure, what to do next depends on whether the seizure was a focal seizure or a generalized seizure. A seizure is considered focal if the person doesn*t become unconsciousness. If the person losses consciousness, or losses control of his bowel or bladder, this is a generalized seizure. If a focal seizure occurs, contact our office. We may need to check the level of anticonvulsant in your blood or make other medication changes. If the seizure is generalized or any of the following occur, call for help immediately: If the seizure continues for more than 5 minutes If a second seizure starts shortly after the first has ended If consciousness does not return after the shaking has stopped If the person was injured during the seizure.
What to do if a seizure occurs: Following is a guide for what to do:

Focal Seizure Note the timing of the seizure Provide emotional support Watch for signs that the seizure may generalize (ie loss of consciousness; movements on both sides of the body)

Generalized Seizure: If a person is in a chair, carefully manuever to the floor Move objects away from the person to ensure their safety Loosen any restrictive clothing from around the person neck After the seizure, place the person on his left side.

If you have already had a seizure, the following changes in your lifestyle are important to know: In the State of Georgia, you may not drive for 1 year after a seizure has occurred. Each state has different restrictions on driving. Check with the epilepsy foundation or your State Bureau of Motor Vehicles for guidelines specific for the state in which you live. Dangerous activities should be avoided (such as scuba diving or mountain climbing) Other activities should be modified to maintain safety (swim with a partner; taking a tub bath only with someone else present) Women should know that seizures are more likely to occur around the time of your period Some people find that overexerting themselves precipitates a seizure. If this happens, you should avoid this (such as become overheated, overexcercising)

Remember, this pamphlet is only a guide. What's written here may not always apply to you. Ask questions if you are unsure. Having seizures can be frightening, but it doesn*t mean you are less intelligent or look differently!




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