Around 70 000 people in Switzerland are affected by epilepsy. The causes can be many and various, not least because we are not really talking about one illness. Not everyone who has an epileptic seizure necessarily suffers from epilepsy. The term "epilepsy" is generally only used when an individual has two or more seizures occurring spontaneously within a 24-hour period without apparent cause.
An epileptic seizure is a temporary dysfunction of the brain, but the symptoms can be extremely various. Potential signs are: sudden collapse, increased salivation and rapid breathing, short-term respiratory arrest with the lips turning blue, muscular rigidity or convulsions of the whole body. Seizures generally last for one or two minutes, rarely longer, but can also last just a few seconds.
Many first responders are shocked when they first experience an individual having an epileptic seizure. To help the affected person, you should:
Keep calm and note how long the seizure lasts for. No medical attention will be required in most cases unless:
Many people are confused and sleepy after a seizure. Keep calm and tell the person what has happened. Let them know how long it lasted for and what the symptoms were.
If you have any further questions about epilepsy, the doctors and other medical personnel at sante24 can provide you with expert advice – free of charge, 24 hours a day. On request, sante24 will also arrange a doctor's appointment.
Phone +41 (0)44 404 86 86
*Basic Life Support (first aid)
**Automated External Defibrillator