5 Important Things to Do If Your Child is Having a Seizure

4 Jan

A week ago, Abby had a seizure. It was her first one and the result of a bathroom fall she took several weeks before. The doctors thought the small hematomas she had were resolving but we were only halfway right: one had gone away, and the other had become a chronic subdural hematoma.

With that blood continuing to irritate her brain, she had her first seizure. Almost 25 minutes. Rescue squad. Trauma. PICU. Petrifying. I could go into more details like how it was Jackson’s birthday or the paramedic being moved to tears once she’d stopped the seizure or the 24 hours Abby spent highly agitated and screaming post-Ativan in the PICU. Some stories aren’t worth reliving in words.

Instead, what I’m going to write is very important. It is something that you THINK you’d know if the situation happened to you, but your brain turns to mush.

So read it now. Memorize it NOW.

This is what to do if your child, or someone else, has a seizure:

  1. Put the person on their side, preferably on the ground. This is for any spit or foam so it will not run to the back of their throat and choke them.
  2. Move all items around them away so they won’t hurt themselves. No pillows under their head.
  3. Note the time. This is a difficult step in a highly stressful situation but it is very important to know how long a seizure lasts to inform first responders.
  4. Call 9-1-1.
  5. Do not put your hand or any object in their mouth. They will not swallow their tongue.

A seizure is a medical emergency. Some people live with them and take medicine for them (like Abby now does), but always call 9-1-1. The ambulance carries medication to administer on the way to the hospital which will hopefully get it to stop.

A seizure, though it looks scary and awful when it’s happening, does not typically cause brain damage until someone has been seizing for close to an hour. So it’s important to keep the person safe while they’re having a seizure and get the right medical attention ASAP. This is a fact I did not know, and am glad to know now.

I couldn’t go another day without posting this. It’s important information EVERYONE should know. Jackson, bless his heart, had a dream about someone having a seizure and he had to help. So I taught him, too! We’ve done several practices. (The picture in this heading is our practice run — he’s in the “wait for the ambulance and make sure she stays safe” portion. He is trying to be serious; Abby is giggling.)

It may seem too grown up for a 9-year-old to learn, but I believe it’s important to talk about things like this. Knowledge fades fear — adults and children! After we practiced, Jackson moved right on to doing something else. But the anxiety his dream caused him was gone. Well, and Abby enjoys being an actress, though she wanted us to know that she wasn’t really have a seizure.

She is doing much, much better, by the way. We have another CT scan tomorrow to check in on that chronic subdural hematoma.

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