An epileptic attack can happen anytime, anywhere. Some of the known triggers of this kind of seizure are: stress; an overload of emotions such as anger, fear, and worry; flickering lights; lack of sleep; and many more.
Unfortunately, most of these triggers are present at your workplace; keeping in mind that 0.6% of the population is epileptic, it’s possible that you might have to deal with an epileptic episode at work.
Unfortunately, a seizure can’t be stopped once it’s triggered; but there are certain steps you can take to make it easy for the person experiencing it:
What Can You Do?
An epileptic seizure may be scary to witness, but remember, it’s 10 times worse for the patient. So take a deep breath and try and help them out in their time of need.
Move them away from danger:
You’re not supposed to move the patient around. However, if they’re in direct line of danger, such as being around sharp objects or glass doors, proficiently move them away from harm’s way.
Cushion their fall:
A seizure might precede a fall; don’t let the person collapse if you’re in close proximity. Don’t worry; epilepsy is a disorder, not a disease. You can’t catch it. Make contact with the patient before their head makes contact with the ground. Next, try and find a cushion or leverage to hold their head up.
Loosen their clothing:
It’s quite probable that your colleague is dressed in formal attire. This means that they probably have tight clothing—like ties—around their neck. Unfasten their collar and loosen the tie immediately without alarming the patient or causing them any more discomfort.
Put them in recovery position:
Once the seizure stops, try to maneuver them into the recovery position by turning them so they’re lying on their side.
Be there for them:
As we’ve mentioned above, epilepsy is not contagious, so don’t restrain yourself from comforting them. Help them get up, offer physical and emotional support, and just be an all-around good Canadian to your fellow countryperson.
What You Shouldn’t Do!
There are twice as many people with epilepsy in Canada than those who have Cerebral Palsy, so it’s useful to educate yourself about the myths and misconceptions attached to the disorder and not act on what rumors have taught you.
Don’t push anything down their throat:
You may have been led to believe that a person can swallow their tongue during an epileptic attack. However, it’s physically impossible for anyone (seizing or not) to swallow their tongue. So do your poor workmate a favour and don’t put anything in their mouth; whether it’s a spoon or your fingers.
If the convulsions don’t stop in 5 minutes; don’t hesitate to call for help. Dial 911 without delay to get your colleague professional help.
Epileptic seizures are a sad truth of life for many of us. You and I can make this traumatizing experience easy for them. Just sign up for our Occupational First Aid Training Program or contact now to arrange for training sessions across British Columbia for your work staff to make your colleagues and employees feel safe and welcomed!