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First Aid For Grand Mal Seizures

Grand mal seizures or tonic clonic seizure is the type of seizure disorder that is usually associated with epilepsy. Unlike other types of seizure disorders that only certain parts of the brain activity is involved during seizure episodes, in grand mal seizures, the entire brain activity or function is altered.

What Will Happen During Grand Mal Seizures?

There are two phases in grand mal seizures

  • The Tonic Phase
  • The Clonic Phase

During the Tonic Phase, stiffening of the muscles in the whole body happens and both hands and feet can either turn inside or facing the body and it can turn outward. It is during the tonic phase wherein the patient falls down and the patient will become unconscious.

During the second phase of grand mal seizures, or the clonic phase, the actual seizure or convulsion takes place. During the clonic phase of grand mal seizures, a person will/can have:

  • Involuntary contraction and relaxation of the muscles
  • Eyeballs are rolled back
  • Closing of the jaw
  • Biting of the tongue
  • Total loss of bodily functions

First Aid For Grand Mal Seizures

An episode of grand mal seizure will usually last for several minutes, which will not be enough for emergency medical assistance to arrive. When you can witness a person with a seizure, there are things you can do to prevent accidents and injuries and can help in keeping the person with the seizure safe, which can save his or her life.  Having someone around a person with seizure is considered to be one of the best first aid.

  1. Lay the person onto his side if possible. Positioning him to his side can prevent choking when he or she vomits.
  2. If possible, place a soft pillow or anything soft under his head so as he or she does not bang his head on the floor. If there is nothing soft, you can place your lap under his or her head.
  3. Move any dangerous objects away from the patient.
  4. Never try to restrain or putting anything into their mouth during seizure episode. Doing so can possibly cause injuries.
  5. Once the seizure is done, never give any liquid (water, juice, etc.) immediately.
  6. Bring the person who just had a seizure directly to the emergency room for a follow-up check-up.

Some Important Do’s

  • Stay calm – Having a clear mind is very important to practicing first aid procedures correctly. Grand mal seizure/tonic-clonic seizure can look frightening, but will normally pass without causing damage to the person.
  • Try to grab a pillow or soft object and put it under the person’s head. This will ensure that he does not hit the ground. You can also cup their hands in your hands, but do not exert any kind of force.
  • Make sure you clear the area and see that no dangerous objects such as furniture or anything with a sharp edge is near to the person undergoing seizure.
  • Keep other people away and try not to make a crowd around the person.
  • Stay with the person until they fully recover and see that their breathing has returned to normal.

Some Important Don’ts

  • Do not move the person. However if the person gets an attack in a dangerous location such as stairs or in a road, make sure you get him to a safe place.
  • Do not place anything in a person’s mouth. There is nothing like someone swallows his tongue during seizure attack. If you insert an object into a person’s mouth during a seizure, it may choke him. This ought to do more harm than any good.
  • Do not exert any external force to the person’s body or limbs. Doing so may result in injuries such as dislocation.
  • Do not immediately give the person any kind of food or drink until they are fully recovered.

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