Sudden Illnesses

Fainting and Seizures

Fainting usually happens when your blood pressure drops suddenly, causing a decrease in blood flow to your brain. This is more common in older people.

Some causes of fainting include

  • Heat or dehydration
  • Emotional distress
  • Standing up too quickly
  • Certain medicines
  • Drop in blood sugar
  • Heart problems
  • Fainting is usually nothing to worry about, but it can sometimes be a sign of a serious problem


Treatment *

The immediate treatment for an individual who has fainted involves carefully lowering the person to the ground, loosening any tight clothing and checking to see if their airway is open and they are breathing. The person should remain lying down for at least 10-15 minutes, preferably in a cool and quiet space. If this isn't possible, have the individual sit forward and lower their head below their shoulders and between their knees. Do not give anything to eat or drink.


Seizures

This are symptoms of a brain problem. They happen because of sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain
Seizures fall into two main groups.
  1. Focal seizures, also called partial seizures, happen in just one part of the brain.
  2. Generalized seizures are a result of abnormal activity on both sides of the brain


Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and do not cause lasting harm. However, it is a medical emergency if seizures last longer than 5 minutes or if a person has many seizures and does not wake up between them. Other circumstances that warrant a call to 9-1-1 include:

  • Failure to regain consciousness after the seizure
  • The victim is pregnant, elderly, a young child or infant
  • Unknown cause of seizure
  • The victim has diabetes
  • The seizure takes place in water
  • It is the victims first seizure


Care For Both

  • Never attempt to hold or restrain them in any way to stop their seizure - the victim is unaware that it is occurring and is unable to control it. Attempting to restrain an individual having a seizure may result in injuries to both you and the victim.
  • Do not attempt to stick anything into the victim's mouth - the victim will not swallow their tongue and sticking something in their mouth can cause further injury or death. The tongue may obstruct the airway during the seizure, but this is normal.
  • Remove any furniture or objects from the area to protect the victim from injury.
  • Request that all bystanders move away (persons having a seizure are often embarrassed after their seizure)
  • Check the airway. If liquid is present in the mouth, place the victim in the recovery position to let it drain from the mouth.
  • After the seizure, the victim will slowly "awaken." Ensure that bystanders are away and offer reassurance for the victim. Victims who have a seizure in public are often self-conscious about their condition. The victim will be very tired after his seizure.
  • Continue to reassure the victim until he or she is fully aware of the surroundings or until EMS arrives.