Epilepsy – First Aid

Some of the information is from my first hand experience. But each patient is different. As a passerby or caregiver, you have to make the judgment call based on your knowledge and the circumstances.

Some suggested precautions and reaction procedures

  • If the person stays at your home, surround his/her sleeping area (especially near the head, and if possible the floor) with cushioning; remove sharp/hard or any dangerous objects from the room if possible
  • When a seizure occurs, do not restrain the person (advice from Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel, Singapore Epilepsy Foundation, Cleveland Clinic PDF poster in 2009) – the patient may struggle even more violently when restricted; you may then hurt yourself in the process
  • The patient may be confused/disoriented for hours or days after the seizure episode, so be watchful of the person and supervise (and limit his/her activities) accordingly
  • Call the emergency services if the seizure
    • lasts more than 5 minutes (Singapore Epilepsy Foundation, Cleveland Clinic PDF poster in 2009, Epilepsy Society UK in Sep 2015)
    • ‘repeats without full recovery’ or reoccurs within 24 hours
    • it is their first seizure

Related information:

Approximately 20,000 (information from Flag Day image) are afflicted with epilepsy in Singapore (Epilepsy Care Group, Singapore). A post on their book resource is found here.

Causes of the condition is unclear and varied. There is no certainty that it would run in the family. The Singapore Epilepsy Foundation records that ‘in 70% of all cases, there is no known cause.’ The Khoo Teck Puat-National University Children’s Medical Institute (KTP-NUCMI) in Singapore, states that for roughly 50% of the cases: ‘no specific cause can be identified’. Some possibilities opined by the Singapore Epilepsy Foundation,  KTP-NUCMI, and National Healthcare Services, UK include:


  • Severe head injury/trauma
  • Infections that damage the brain (meningitis or encephalitis)
  • Toxic substances that affect the brain (plausibly from drug or alcohol abuse)
  • Brain tumor and stroke
  • Hereditary disease affecting the brain (e.g. tuberous sclerosis)
  • High Fever
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Metabolism or nutrition imbalance
  • abnormalities in genes regulating nerve excitability in the brain
  • events or complications to a foetus prior to/at delivery

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