Epilepsy refers to recurrent seizures. A seizure is a disruption in normal brain functioning that can cause disturbance of consciousness and/or body movements. This disruption occurs due to the uncontrolled over activity of brain cells, and is seen as a seizure that can last several seconds, minutes or occasionally hours.
Types of seizures:
- Tonic clonic seizures (grand mal seizures) involve the loss of consciousness, person falls down, and their muscles tighten and either jerk or shake. The seizures will last usually one to three minutes. Recovery may take up to half an hour.
- Absence seizures (petit mal seizures) occur when a person stops what they are doing and appears to stare for 5 to 30 seconds. Their eyes may roll upward or flicker, and the person is unaware of and unresponsive to the environment.
- Simple partial seizures (focal seizures) occur when a person remains conscious and can recall what happened during the seizure. Sensations include motor symptoms, sensory symptoms, autonomic symptoms, and psychic symptoms. They are also known as auras, and can progress to a tonic clonic seizure.
- Complex partial seizures (focal seizures with loss of consciousness) occur when a person is unaware of their environment and unresponsive to others. They will be able to perform unusual activities like chewing, or wandering. These seizures usually last several seconds to a few minutes.
First Aid Management:
If the student has an action plan and prescribed medication, follow the physician’s orders. If the student does not have any orders call 911 and wait for the seizure to cease spontaneously or for an ambulance to arrive while following the first aid procedure:
- Note the time the seizure started.
- Ease the student to the floor.
- Roll the student on to their side in the recovery position as soon as
- Possible protecting the airway.
- Protect the student’s head from injury if possible.
- Do not restrain the student.
- Do not place anything in the mouth.
- After the movements have stopped, let the student rest.
Medication to treat tonic clonic seizures is usually ordered to be given after 5 minutes of seizure activity. Absence seizures and simple partial seizures usually require observation only as long as the student is not in danger.
Teachers will be notified if they have a student with epilepsy/seizures. They will be given a copy of the student’s epilepsy plan. Contact Student Health Services if a seizure occurs.