Seizure Emergency Room

A seizure could be a medical emergency. Get help without the wait – no appointment needed.

Seizures are not always considered medical emergencies, but there are certain situations where a seizure is serious enough that it warrants a trip to an emergency room. We recommend going to Surepoint ER as soon as possible for a neurological examination and treatment if you experience a seizure.

woman helping man having convulsion during epileptic seizure

When is a Seizure a Medical Emergency?

If you or someone you know has a seizure, it’s important to assess the situation carefully to determine if a trip to Surepoint ER for a neurological exam is needed. When a seizure requires a trip to the emergency room, we recommend acting as quickly as possible.

Here are some common scenarios where a person having a seizure should go to the emergency room:

  • First-time seizure
  • Prolonged seizure
  • Injury resulting in a seizure
  • Injury during seizure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizure during pregnancy
  • Seizure in someone with diabetes
  • Seizure in someone with a known brain injury or neurological condition
  • Seizure in someone with heart disease

Surepoint is Open 24/7 Near You!

If you or someone you know are experiencing a seizure that requires immediate medical attention, visit a Surepoint ER near you now.

Common Causes of Seizures

Seizures can be caused by a number of different factors. Determining the underlying neurological cause of seizures is crucial for appropriate treatment and management, which is why it’s so important to seek immediate medical care the first time you or someone you know experiences a seizure. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause of seizures can help make them much more manageable.

Some of the more common causes of seizures are:

  • Epilepsy
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain infections like meningitis or encephalitis
  • Metabolic disorders like hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyponatremia (low sodium levels), or uremia (accumulation of toxins in the blood due to kidney failure)
  • Extremely low blood sugar
  • Repeating sounds or flashing lights
  • Side effects from some medications
  • Withdrawal or overdose from alcohol or narcotics
  • High fever
  • Dehydration
  • Heat stroke
  • Degenerative brain diseases
  • Eclampsia (elevated blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain
  • Genetic disorders
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Heavy metal poisoning

As you can see the underlying causes of seizures are quite varied. A thorough examination by an experienced physician like the ones available 24/7 at Surepoint ER is crucial for pinpointing the underlying cause of seizures so proper treatment and management can begin. If you or someone you know experiences a seizure, get to the nearest Surepoint ER location as soon as possible.

Types of Seizures

man fainting on the floor

Seizures can be classified into several types based on their characteristics, symptoms, and the part of the brain affected. The three main categories of seizures are focal onset seizures, generalized onset seizures, and unknown onset seizures. Each of these categories can be broken down into further subcategories.

Focal Onset Seizures (also known as Partial Seizures)

Focal seizures, also known as partial seizures, originate in a specific area of the brain and affect only one part of the body or one side of the brain. There are several types of focal seizures, each with its own set of characteristics. Here are the main types of focal seizures:

Simple focal seizures: These seizures originate in one specific area of the brain and do not typically cause loss of consciousness.

Complex focal seizures: These seizures also originate in a specific area of the brain but may cause alterations in consciousness or awareness.

Generalized Onset Seizures

A generalized seizure affects both sides of the brain simultaneously, leading to symptoms that often involve loss of consciousness and may affect the entire body. Generalized seizures are also classified into several subtypes, each with its own characteristic symptoms. Here are the main types of generalized onset seizures:

Absence seizures (formerly called “petit mal” seizures): These seizures typically occur in children and are characterized by brief episodes of staring or absent-mindedness, during which the individual may appear to be “zoned out.” Absence seizures usually last only a few seconds and are often mistaken for daydreaming.

Tonic-clonic seizures (formerly called “grand mal” seizures): This is one of the most well-known types of seizures and involves two phases. The tonic phase involves stiffening of the muscles, loss of consciousness, and often a cry or vocalization due to air being forced out of the lungs. This is followed by the clonic phase, which involves rhythmic jerking movements.

Tonic seizures: These seizures involve sudden stiffening of muscles, typically in the arms, legs, or torso. If the person having a tonic seizure is standing at the time of onset, they may fall down.

Clonic seizures: These seizures are characterized by repetitive, rhythmic jerking movements of muscles, usually on both sides of the body.

Myoclonic seizures: Myoclonic seizures involve sudden, brief, shock-like muscle contractions. These seizures may affect a specific part of the body or be generalized.

Atonic seizures (also called “drop seizures” or “drop attacks”): Atonic seizures cause sudden loss of muscle strength, which can lead to a collapse or fall. Falls caused by this type of seizure can lead to injuries.

Symptoms of a Seizure

The symptoms of a seizure can vary greatly depending on the type of seizure, the part of the brain affected, and other individual factors. Sometimes seizure symptoms are severe and easily noticeable, but symptoms of another type of seizure could be subtle and barely perceptible. It’s important to understand a wide range of seizure symptoms so you can take note of them as they happen and take the appropriate action.

Some of the more common symptoms of seizures include:

  • Temporary confusion or disorientation
  • Difficulty processing information
  • Altered consciousness, ranging from a brief moment of disconnection to complete loss of consciousness
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements in the arms, legs, face, or other parts of the body
  • Sudden loss of muscle strength
  • Staring off into space
  • Repetitive movements like lip-smacking, chewing, picking at clothes, or fumbling with objects
  • Sensory disturbances like tingling, numbness, strange smells, tastes, sounds, or visual disturbances
  • Sudden emotional changes like fear, anxiety, or panic
  • Sudden changes in heart rate, breathing patterns, sweating, or gastrointestinal sensations
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Teeth clenching
  • Drooling and/or frothing at the mouth
  • Involuntary grunting or snorting

If you or someone you know experiences any of these common seizure symptoms, come to the nearest Surepoint ER location right away for evaluation and treatment. We can make sure you get the treatment you need to fast.

Warning Signs of a Seizure

Sometimes it can be possible to notice signs of a seizure before it happens. These pre-seizure warning signs are known as “auras.” Not everyone will experience these warning signs before they have a seizure, and people who experience auras before seizures may not experience them before every seizure. But it can be useful to understand the types of auras a person may experience before a seizure so you can better recognize when a seizure may be coming on and prepare yourself.

Some common warning signs that may happen before a seizure include:

  • Sudden, intense changes in mood or behavior
  • Sudden sensory disturbances like tingling, numbness, or unusual sensations
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations
  • Experiencing unusual smells or tastes that are not actually present in the environment
  • An unusually strong feeling of déjà vu (a feeling that you have already experienced the present situation even though you haven’t)
  • Sudden nausea or stomach discomfort
  • A sudden increase or decrease in energy levels
  • Difficulty speaking, slurred speech, or other changes in language function
  • Feeling “out of it” or disconnected from reality in some way
  • Sudden loss of bowel or bladder control

If you or someone you know experiences any of the above warning signs before a seizure, take note of them and remember them for the future. If you can recognize the signs of an oncoming seizure, you may be in a better position to keep yourself or the person suffering a seizure safe. You should also describe these auras to the doctor when you come to Surepoint ER for treatment, as it could help your doctor better identify the type of seizure you’re having and its underlying cause.

What to Do When Someone is Having a Seizure

caucasian senior woman fall on the ground alone

If someone is having a seizure, it’s important to stay calm and be ready to help. There are some simple steps you can take to help ensure their safety.

Stay with the person throughout the seizure to provide assistance and monitor their condition. Stay calm and reassure them that they are not alone. Clear the area around them to create a safe space. If the person is lying down, gently place something soft under their head, like a folded jacket or cushion, to help prevent head injury.

Avoid restraining the person’s movements during the seizure. Attempting to restrain a person during a seizure can cause injury, either to you or the person having the seizure. Allow the seizure to run its course without interference.

If the person is lying down and the seizure involves convulsions, carefully turn them onto their side to help keep their airway clear and prevent them from choking on saliva or vomit.Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. Contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary or safe to insert anything into the person’s mouth during a seizure, as this can cause choking or injury to the teeth, jaw, or airway.

Note the time when the seizure begins and monitor its duration. Seizures lasting longer than five minutes or multiple seizures occurring in succession without recovery in between require emergency medical attention.

After the seizure ends, stay with the person and provide assistance as needed until they have fully regained consciousness and are alert. Offer support and help them to rest comfortably.

And if the person having the seizure does need medical attention, take them to the nearest Surepoint ER location right away. We have expert emergency doctors on staff 24/7, so we’re ready to help you whenever you need it.

Emergency Treatment for Seizure

If you or someone you know is prone to seizures, there are some precautions that you can take in order to minimize risks and stay safe. Some of these precautions include:

  • Taking epilepsy medications as directed by your healthcare provider
  • Getting regular checkups from your healthcare provider to monitor the condition that causes your seizures, adjust treatment as needed, and address any questions or concerns
  • Avoiding known seizure triggers
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Managing stress effectively
  • Removing or securing hazards in your home that could be dangerous during a seizure
  • Following state regulations on driving for people with seizures
  • Avoid swimming or taking baths by yourself
  • Avoid cooking or taking part in any other activity involving extreme heat or fire by yourself
  • Avoid sports that could cause a serious injury if you have a seizure while partaking, such as horseback riding, skating, biking, skiing, or snowboarding
  • Developing a “seizure action plan” so friends and family know what to do if you have a seizure while they are around
  • Wearing a medical identification bracelet or necklace with the details of the condition that causes your seizures

Seizures can still occur even when precautions are taken, but taking these precautions can make seizures safer and more manageable.

Don’t Miss the Signs: Recognize Emergency Seizure Symptoms and Act Fast!

A seizure is not always a medical emergency, but if you do have a seizure that requires immediate medical attention, visit the nearest Surepoint ER location now to get the care you need. We’re open 24/7, so we’re always here to help when you need it most.

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