Healthier Me: What to do when someone has a seizure

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If you've never witnessed someone having a seizure, it can be terrifying because there are a lot of unknowns.

November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month and it's aimed at educating people about epilepsy and working towards a cure.

"What we mean when we use the word epilepsy is that someone has had a seizure or had two or more seizures and we think they are prone to having more seizures without something that is specifically setting them off," says Sanford Neurologist Dr. Amanda Diamond.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy sometime in their life.

"The best thing to do, if you come upon someone who is having a seizure or you witness a seizure, is to try and make sure that person is safe in their environment," says Dr. Diamond.

You need to gently roll them on one side, support their head, and remove any dangerous objects nearby. Dr. diamond says don't restrain someone having a seizure and never force something into their mouth.

"Seizures are actually very forceful and can result in broken bones or dislocated joints if you try to hold someone during the midst of them," says Dr. Diamond.

You also need to time the seizure. Most seizures will end on their own within one to two minutes. If it lasts longer than three minutes, you need to call 911.

"It's really important to call 911 in that situation because the likelihood of the seizure ending on its own without any intervention, like an IV or an intramuscular medication, is very low," says Dr. Diamond.

You also have to make sure you are paying attention to what is happening during the seizure.

"Trying to get as much information about what a seizure looks like when it starts, what family members and loved ones are seeing during the event, will always help us with diagnosis as well as trying to pick the right medication for the treatment," says Dr. Diamond.