A seizure is a when a victim involuntarily loses control of his muscles, which spasm and jerk
violently. Seizures are essentially a malfunction of the central nervous system and can be
caused by many things, including head injuries, high fever, dehydration and drug overdose.
First Aid merit badge 5b: Describe symptoms, treatment and prevention of convulsions / seizures
First Aid merit badge 5g: Describe symptoms, treatment and prevention of abdominal pain
Second Class 6a: Show what to do for "hurry" cases of internal poisoning
Seizures are violent and scary. There is no "treatment" for a seizure, only a proper response:
When responding to a seizure, there are several things you should never do:
- Move any sharp or hard objects away from the victim so he won't hit them and hurt himself.
- If possible, try to cradle and protect the victim's head from hitting the floor.
- Do not attempt to restrain the victim. You will only hurt him and yourself.
- Do not attempt to prevent the victim from "swallowing his tongue".
If you attempt to put your fingers in the victim's mouth,
you stand a good chance of choking the victim or losing your fingers.
Seizures cannot be prevented.
Seek medical attention unless the victim has regular seizures and feels medical attention is
not required (e.g. epilepsy patients).
If the victim does not regain consciousness after the seizure ends, seek medical attention.
Most abdominal pain is caused by gas, which causes sharp, stabbing pains.
The best course of action is to encourage the victim to
lie down so the gas bubble will move and relieve the pain.
However, if the victim has suffered a trauma (e.g. a car accident) or if the pain does not
subside after lying down for a short time, he may have internal injuries. There is no
first aid for internal injuries -- seek medical attention.
When a victim has been poisoned, the most important piece of information you can gather
is the name of the poison. Sometimes this will be obvious -- if a small child drank a
bottle of household cleaner, the bottle will be nearby. However, if someone was poisoned
by a chemical in a mislabeled or unlabeled bottle, identification can be tricky.
For purposes of treatment, poisons are divided into two classes:
The difference is important because non-caustic poisons are best treated by causing the
victim to vomit. Some of the poison will remain in the body but most will be expelled.
Caustic poisons must not be vomited however, as they will cause more injury to the esophagus,
throat and mouth as they are expelled.
- Caustic poisons damage any tissue they come in contact with. Examples include bleach,
gasoline and paint thinner. When a caustic poison is swallowed, it damages the mouth, the
throat, the esophagus and stomach, in addition to poisoning the body.
- Non-caustic poisons do not cause direct tissue damage. They only poison the body.
The labelling on the chemical bottle will say whether vomiting should be induced. If the
bottle cannot be found or the poison cannot be identified, do not induce vomiting.
- Induce vomiting, if appropriate.
- Have the victim drink milk, if available, or water otherwise.
- Call Poison Control or 911 for assistance.
- If in doubt, seek medical attention.
Poison Control is available 24x7 at: 800-222-1222
Preventing accidental poisoning is simple: keep all poisons, cleaners and chemicals away from
children. Lock cabinet doors or place the chemicals on high shelves. Never put a poison,
cleaner or chemical in an another bottle -- especially soda bottles. Even if they are labelled,
small children may still drink them.
©2005 Sam Clippinger / samc (at) troop50 (dot) org
Last updated: 12/9/2005