Meeting Newz July / August 2021

A seizure is the result of chaotic electrical activity in the brain, it can often be benign and self-limiting (not requiring treatment), or it can be the first presentation of cardiac arrest. Seizures can be triggered by an illness or injury that affects the brain, the most common are epilepsy, fever, lack of oxygen, brain injury, recreational drug poisoning, metabolic derangement, stroke, and low blood sugar. What are the types of seizures? Seizures can be classed as partial or generalised. Partial or focal seizures usually only involve one area of the brain and can result in a loss of awareness of surroundings, rhythmic twitching of one body area, or sensory changes to smell, taste or hearing. Generalised seizures affect both sides of the brain and result in the person becoming unconscious, usually with rhythmic muscle twitching and rigidity. The person can froth at the mouth, have incontinence, shallow breathing or absent breathing, and the seizure usually lasts two to three minutes. If the person is standing, they will likely fall and injure themselves due to the fall. First Aid – managing seizures If you come across a person who is having a seizure, follow the below steps to keep the person safe: • Protect them from harm and ensure the person is lying on their side. • Place their head on a soft object like a pillow and ensure their airway is open. • Monitor their breathing and call 111 immediately for an ambulance and follow instructions of the call handler (unless you have medical care on-site). • Send someone to retrieve the AED (automated external defibrillator). • Check the person for other injuries. • Review if they have a medic alert bracelet and follow specific instructions. These are usually on a necklace or bracelet or can be a card in their wallet. • Clear their airway if they vomit. • If the seizure stops, keep them safe until they fully recover, they may be disorientated, agitated, and confused for five to 60 minutes. • Ensure they fully recover and are left Increase chance of survival by up to 44% at your event with a St John AED Rental Package. Pricing from $130 for a 3 day rental (excludes GST and postage). Option to extend rental period, and to include a Tear Drop Flag and First Aid Kit. Contact us on 0800 4EVENTS or stjohn.org.nz/AEDrental St John AED Rental with either medical personnel or family or friends who will look after them. Recommendations for event organisers: If your event is large, ensure you have adequate event medical cover with the required scope of practice to be able to manage seizures. If you are managing a very small low risk community event, ensure you have an AED on site as seizures can be the first sign of a cardiac arrest, and applying an AED may be required. If you would like to discuss an upcoming event please feel free to reach out to me personally – simon.barnett@stjohn.org.nz Simon Barnett has 15 years’ experience as a frontline intensive care paramedic and is head of Event Health Services at St John By Simon Barnett First Aid top tips – seizures ST J OHN COLUMN ] A seizure is another one of those common clinical presentations at events that to the untrained bystander can be a bit shocking and scary. meeting newz [jul aug] 2021 [43]

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