Treating Seizures And Convulsions

"He gets these 'fits' every so often. The doctor told him to take his medications but he forgets.....especially when he's drinking. The only thing that bothers me is that he seems to stop breathing when he's in one of his fits." Seizures are...


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  • Stay calm. You cannot stop a seizure once it has started.
  • Place the patient on the floor or bed to prevent injury.
  • Do not restrain the patient.
  • Clear the area of hard, sharp or hot objects to protect the patient from injury.
  • Do not force anything between the teeth.
  • Do not be concerned if the patient stops breathing temporarily during the seizure.
  • After the seizure, turn the patient on his or her side and make sure breathing is not obstructed.
  • Provide supplemental oxygen after the seizure if it is available and if you are trained to use it.
  • Arrange prompt transport to an appropriate medical facility.

Garry Briese is the executive director of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and, along with David Schottke, co-author of the new edition of First Responder: Your First Response In Emergency Care, available from Jones & Bartlett Publishers. The book is produced by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the National Safety Council.