Another question I get asked frequently is ‘what do I do if you have a seizure?’ This question is normally referring only to grand mal seizures or ‘big’ seizures as I call them, the most stereotypical seizure should I say where the person is unconscious and on the floor shaking.
In response to this question, I tend to say ‘do nothing’ which gets me a lot of blank stares and ‘no, really?’ But in reality that’s all you can do, whilst I’m having the seizure anyway. If I were to have a grand mal seizure in public I would advise whoever I happened to be with to try and stop people from watching me, and to not call an ambulance as there’s no need. Once the seizure has finished they should stay with me as when I wake up I am very confused and disorientated, and turn me on my side. And then of course get me home safely, and that’s all I can really advise.
When I’m having a grand mal seizure I am not in any immediate danger. I just like to think there’s a wee electrical fight going on in my brain and that I’ll be back with you as soon as possible. The seizure only becomes dangerous if it lasts more than 5 minutes in which case an ambulance should be called.
Under no circumstances should anything be placed in my mouth. It is a common misconception that you should put an object such as a spoon into someone’s mouth to stop them biting their tongue off, but the likelihood is that they would be more likely to crack their teeth on such an object (or bite your fingers if you tried). During a grand mal seizure your teeth do tend to clamp down, and unfortunately the tongue does get in the way of that, but a sore tongue is better than a missing tooth (or a friend who isn’t talking to you because you bit off their finger).
As for how a grand mal seizure looks, I couldn’t tell you because I’ve never seen one. From what I can figure however, if one happens you’ll know it, but it looks a lot scarier than it actually is.