Grand mal seizure
- Traumatic head injuries.
- Using or withdrawing from drugs, including alcohol.
- Brain tumors.
- Infections, such as encephalitis or meningitis, or history of such infection.
- Injury due to a previous lack of oxygen.
- Blood vessel malformations in the brain.
- Genetic syndromes.
- Any injury to the brain from trauma, stroke, previous infection and other causes.
- Sleep deprivation.
- Medical problems that affect electrolyte balance.
- Illicit drug use.
- Heavy alcohol use.
- A scream. Some people may cry out at the beginning of a seizure because the muscles around the vocal cords seize, forcing air out.
- Loss of bowel and bladder control. This may happen during or following a seizure.
- Unresponsiveness after convulsions. Unconsciousness may persist for several minutes after the convulsion has ended.
- Confusion. A period of disorientation often follows a grand mal seizure. This is referred to as postictal confusion.
- Fatigue. Sleepiness is common after a grand mal seizure.
- Severe headache. Headaches are common but not universal after grand mal seizures.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine produces detailed images of your brain. Although many people with seizures and epilepsy have normal MRIs, certain MRI abnormalities may provide a clue as to the cause of seizures in some cases.
- Time the seizure.
- Protect from injury - remove any hard objects from the area.
- Protect the head - place something soft under their head and loosen any tight clothing.
- Gently roll the person on their side as soon as it is possible to do so and firmly push the angle of the jaw forward to assist with breathing. A person cannot 'swallow their tongue' but the tongue can move back to cause a serious block to breathing.
- Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally and calmly talk to the person until the regain consciousness, usually within a few minutes.
- Reassure the person that they are safe and that you will stay with them while they recover.
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