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Seizures: Understanding the Causes and First Aid in Australia

    Seizures, often misunderstood and misrepresented, are neurological events that can be both frightening and potentially dangerous. In Australia, where over 250,000 individuals are diagnosed with epilepsy, understanding and knowing how to respond appropriately can be life-saving knowledge. In this blog, we will delve into what seizures are, their causes, and the appropriate first-aid treatment for them in Australia.


    What are seizures?

    Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbances in the brain that can cause changes in behaviour, movements, or feelings. They can vary widely in intensity, duration, and symptoms. While epilepsy is one of the most common causes, they can also occur due to other factors such as fevers, head injuries, drug overdoses, or underlying medical conditions.


    Causes of seizures

    1. Epilepsy: The most common cause, Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder characterised by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. It can develop due to genetic factors, brain injuries, infections, or developmental disorders.

    2. Febrile seizures: These are seizures that occur in young children due to fever, often associated with common illnesses such as respiratory infections or ear infections. Most febrile seizures are harmless and resolve on their own, but medical attention should still be sought.

    3. Head trauma: A traumatic brain injury, such as from a car accident or sports-related injury, can trigger seizures.

    4. Stroke: A stroke, which disrupts blood flow to the brain.

    5. Brain tumours: Tumors in the brain can cause seizures, particularly if they press on or irritate brain tissue.

    6. Infections: Infections such as meningitis, encephalitis, or HIV/AIDS.

    7. Metabolic disorders: Disorders such as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), electrolyte imbalances, or kidney/liver failure can trigger seizures.

    First aid for seizures in Australia

    Knowing how to respond appropriately is crucial for ensuring the safety and well-being of the individual experiencing it. Here are the steps to follow for providing first aid for seizures:

    1. Stay calm: While witnessing a seizure can be frightening, it is important to stay calm. Most seizures are brief and will end on their own without causing harm.

    2. Keep the person safe: Remove any nearby objects that could cause injury during the seizure. Cushion their head with a soft object, and if possible, gently guide them to the ground to prevent falls.

    3. Do not restrain: Avoid restraining the person or putting anything in their mouth. Contrary to popular belief, it is not possible for someone to swallow their tongue during a seizure, and attempting to force something into their mouth can cause injury.

    4. Time the seizure: Note the time when the seizure starts. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes (or if the person has repeated seizures without regaining consciousness), it is considered a medical emergency, and an ambulance should be called immediately.

    5. Recovery position: After the seizure ends, gently roll the person onto their side into the recovery position. This helps prevent choking and allows any fluids to drain from the mouth.

    6. Provide reassurance: Provide reassurance and support to the person. They may feel confused or disoriented after the seizure, so offer comfort and help as needed.

    7. Seek medical attention: If it is the person’s first seizure, if they have difficulty breathing, if they are injured during the seizure, or if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, seek medical attention promptly. Even if the person has a known history of seizures, it is important to contact a healthcare professional if there are any concerns about their well-being.

    In Australia, organisations like Epilepsy Action Australia offer resources and training programs to educate individuals on how to recognise and respond to seizures effectively. By spreading awareness and understanding of seizures and their appropriate first aid treatment, we can create a safer and more supportive environment for those living with epilepsy and other seizure disorders, Remember, knowledge and preparedness can make all the difference in ensuring the health and safety of those experiencing seizures.



    Don’t forget to visit our Blog page for more articles on other interesting topics.

    If you want to stay up to date on your first aid training or learn more about first aid for seizures, take a look at our safety courses available here. If you’re looking for first aid equipment for your business or home, we have a great range you can shop online here.


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