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Health And Beauty: Epileptic seizures

Epileptic seizures can be minor or major. Someone having a major fit may lose consciousness suddenly and require first aid.

What are they?
Epileptic seizures are due to recurrent, major disturbances of brain activity. Just before a seizure the person affected may have a brief warning period with, for example, a strange feeling, or a particular smell or taste.

Symptoms of a minor epileptic fit may include sudden blankness, twitching limbs and strange noises, for example, smacking of lips.

A major fit may involve sudden loss of consciousness, absence of breathing, convulsive movements, such as jaw clenches, and the body becoming rigid.

First aid aims
Treat casualty for unconsciousness
Protect casualty while unconscious
Arrange for medical help, if necessary

Protect casualty from their surroundings to avoid injury
Allow seizure to run its course and keep monitoring the casualty
Once seizure is over, place casualty in recovery position
Keep reassuring casualty and monitor their condition
Call an ambulance if casualty is unconscious for more than ten minutes, the seizure continues for more than five minutes, they have repeated seizures, it's their first seizure, or if they're not aware of any reason for the seizure

Stroke is caused by an interruption of the blood supply to the brain. This can be caused by a blood clot or a breaking blood vessel. Nearby brain cells are killed by the stroke, producing impaired bodily control.

Strokes are more common in older people but can happen at any age.

Numbness of face, arm or leg (possibly just one side of the body)
Difficulty communicating
Impaired vision in one or both eyes
Loss of coordination or balance
Sudden headache
Flushed face
Drooping mouth, dribbling, slurred speech
Loss of bladder or bowel control

Action if casualty is conscious
Call an ambulance immediately
Lie casualty down with their head and shoulders raised slightly and supported
Incline casualty's head to one side and place a cloth to catch any dribbling

Action if casualty is unconscious
Open an airway and check for breathing
If the casualty isn't breathing, prepare for resuscitation

Further action
If the casualty loses consciousness, call 999 immediately.

Hypothermia - children and babies

What is it?
Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops below 35°C (95°F). Children are most at risk when they've been active outside for a long time in low temperatures, or have become wet (by falling into cold water, for example).

Cold, pale, dry skin
Listlessness or confusion
Failing consciousness
Slow, shallow breathing
Weakening pulse

First aid aims
Prevent further body heat loss
Warm the casualty
Get medical help

Give the child a warm, not hot, bath
When their colour has returned, help them out of bath, dry them quickly and wrap in warm towels or blankets
Dress child warmly (including a hat) and put them to bed, covered with plenty of blankets
Ensure room is warm
Give warm drinks
Stay with them
Call a doctor

Hypothermia in babies
Babies can respond very quickly to being cold.

Unusually quiet and refusing to feed
May not necessarily change colour

Check whether baby's skin feels cold
Call a doctor
Warm baby gradually by wrapping in a blanket
Cuddle to transfer your body warmth to baby

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