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Some Seizures Are Mild, While Others Are Emergencies

It’s estimated that one out of 10 Americans will experience a seizure, according to the CDC. Most of the time, they are not medical emergencies. However, other times, it’s essential to call 911 or rush to the emergency room to avoid complications. The physician will diagnose the cause and can administer medications to manage the condition.

Types of Seizures

You can experience a generalized or focal seizure. General seizures consist of tonic-clonic and absence seizures.

Grand mal seizures are a type of tonic-clonic seizures. The symptoms include:

  • Losing consciousness
  • Falling
  • Muscle jerks
  • Crying out

The symptoms aren’t as pronounced for absence seizures. Instead, you’ll blink rapidly or have a vacant stare for a few seconds.

Focal seizures are divided into three categories. Simple ones will make you twitch, and you might notice a strange smell or a taste.

If you have epilepsy, you are at risk of complex focal seizures. They will make you feel confused and a bit dazed.

Finally, a secondary generalized seizure goes through a two-step process. First, it will begin in an isolated part of the brain. Then, it will spread, causing symptoms of generalized and focal seizures.

Go to the ER If You Experience These Symptoms

You should call 911 or go to the emergency room if:

  • It’s your first one.
  • You have trouble breathing.
  • You don’t wake up afterward.
  • You have one while in water.
  • It goes on for over five minutes.
  • Another one starts when the first one ends.
  • You have lacerations or another injury.
  • You have heart disease, diabetes, or another serious health condition.
  • You are pregnant.

Seizure Warning Signs

Even though they are often unpredictable, you might notice some warning signs. They can be subtle but indicate that you are about to experience a seizure. If you notice any of the warning signs, find a safe space so you’ll be protected during the episode. Also, contact a loved one to let him or her know what is happening.

The warning signs include:

  • Strange smells
  • Unusual tastes
  • Confusion
  • Memory lapses
  • Jerking or falling
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Incontinence
  • Feeling like you’re outside of your body

Keep track of your personal warning signs as well. You will likely discover some warning signs specific to your situation. Write them down in a logbook to show your provider.

While seizures aren’t always medical emergencies, they still require medical care. In most cases, you can consult with your primary care provider or specialist. However, call 911 or go to the ER if your symptoms indicate an emergency.