Identifying a Seizure

"All of our brain function depends on our nerve cells talking to each other through chemical and electrical activity," Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, Pfizer's chief medical officer, explains. "If there's a surge in that activity or a break in it, that's a seizure."

Seizures can be caused by different things, such as a stroke, high fever, low blood pressure, brain tumor or head injury. Dr. Lewis-Hall explains that when someone has two seizures for no obvious reason, they likely have epilepsy.

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that a partial seizure is when someone has uncontrolled movements that progress to a generalized seizure involving the entire body. They usually don't last more than a minute.

An absence seizure is most often seen in children. JoAnne and her 7-year-old son, Julian, who has experienced absence seizures, join The Doctors.

"He started having these episodes where he would take a deep breath, he would blank out, and it was like pressing pause on a DVD player," JoAnne says. "He was out. His body would freeze for five to 10 seconds, and then he would come back and have no memory that any time had passed by."

She says Julian had the seizures 15 times a day until he was diagnosed and prescribed some medication.

Learn what you should do if you witness someone having a generalized seizure.

Seizure Dos:
• Make sure you stay there for the full duration of the seizure.
• Ease the person to the ground so that he or she doesn't fall.
• Make sure everything is loose around his or her neck.
• Turn the person to the side to keep the airway open.

Seizure Don'ts:
• Stop the person's movements.
• Force anything into his or her mouth.
• Hold the tongue down.

If you have a seizure, be sure to call your doctor.

For more information, visit the Get Healthy Stay Healthy website.

More seizure dos and don'ts

Emergency action plan for seizures