How do seizures happen?

I only ask this because I witnessed one happening on my way to class last Friday.  I was walking past Willard as I saw a crowd of people surrounding a guy laying on the ground convulsing.  I was so shocked by it because that was the last thing I was expecting to see.  As the scene had settled down and the ambulance arrived, I walked to class wondering what made that occur.

As I researched seizures, I learned that they, by definition, from "happen when the electrical system of the brain malfunctions."  Essentially, it is a power surge to your brain, which could cause a variety of reactions from your body.  Some people can have seizures if they have some sort of brain abnormalities, while in others it may just be genetic.  In general, seizures could occur because of a head injury, lack of oxygen to the brain, drug overdose, low blood sugar, etc.  There does not always need to be a reason as to why a seizure happened, unless they are recurring.

As I experienced, it's scary to see someone having a seizure because the person is normally unconscious and convulsing, which is basically a contraction of all of your muscles.  The best thing to do in this event is to lay the person on their side and pay close attention to how long the seizure lasts.  If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, a trip to the emergency room is essential.  Anything less than five minutes does not necessarily need medical attention. 

The image above gives you a better idea as to what to do when someone is having a seizure.  There is not much to do, although it is very important that you get the victim's body to be both as comfortable and supported as possible.  

It's safe to say I will never forget that walk to class!


Hi Kate,
This is very interesting! I had always wondered what a seizure was but never found out exactly what it was. I never knew that it was "okay" to have a seizure less than five minutes. That's kind of scary to me. Also, that picture definitely was helpful in case I ever encounter this, which I hope I never will.

I myself have never witnessed a seizure but I can imagine it would be very scary. My two friends the other day, however, had just gotten their blood taken for the blood drive when they saw a girl shakily stand up about to leave after just doing the same. They walked up to her to offer help getting her home because they knew she did not look so good and the nurse let them know she had just had a seizure a few minutes ago but had been resting and looked like she was ready to go. I find it so strange that her body's reaction was to tense up and convulse when a lot of people pass out after giving blood. It also makes me really interested in what she could have done to even prevent this from happening. Kind of a scary thought but luckily the girl was okay!

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