About 50 million people world-wide are epilepsy sufferers, with an estimated 500,000 Australians expected to be affected during their lifetimes, so Alsco Training ensures its First Aider trainees have confidence in treating attacks promptly and effectively.
Epilepsy is a fairly common neurological disorder characterised by 40 or so different types of seizures that are symptoms of abnormal brain activity. Epilepsy often can be controlled but not cured, and about 30 per cent of sufferers find even the best available medications are ineffective.
One recent study indicated more than half of Australians living with epilepsy either have been injured or needed treatment because of seizures – many of them at work – and that Australians with epilepsy have a mortality rate two to three times greater than the general population, with around 250 deaths a year.
According to Flinders Medical Centre epilepsy researcher Professor John Willoughby, 10 per cent of Australians will have a seizure during their lifetime, and a third of those people will be diagnosed as having epilepsy.
At Alsco managed first aid training (www.alscotraining.com.au), we teach that epilepsy becomes more common as people age and that onset of new cases occurs most frequently in infants and the elderly, as well as in hospital patients recovering from brain surgery.
Many governments forbid epilepsy sufferers holding jobs that involve operating vehicles and machinery, or other activities where continuous vigilance is required, such as driving and piloting aircraft.
Mindful of the risks, Alsco first aid Training staff also advise employers to ensure any known sufferer – regardless of their job – wears an ID bracelet or necklace. However, as an expert managed first aid training provider, Alsco Training also acknowledges there will be cases where a -first attack’ occurs at work.
First aid training from qualified Alsco staff follows established guidelines: Some 30 years ago, the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) proposed a classification scheme for individual seizures that remains in common use today. If consciousness is unaffected, an attack is known as a -simple partial seizure’ and otherwise, a -complex partial (psychomotor) seizure’.
Alsco First Aiders also are taught that children may exhibit behaviour that is easily mistaken for an epileptic seizure but is not. This behaviour includes:
– Inattentive staring.
– -Benign shudders’ in children younger than age two.
– Nodding, rocking and head banging.
– Flailing and jerking the head.
Alsco Training ensures its First Aiders are ready to react to any of the different epilepsy seizure types.
In convulsive seizures – where the body stiffens (tonic phase) followed by general muscle jerking (clonic phase), Alsco Training teaches First Aiders to:
– Stay with the person.
– Time the seizure.
– Ensure the person is neither a threat to him/her or others in the workplace and is not threatened by his environment (for example close to still-running factory equipment). He or she also must be positioned where early treatment can safely be applied by the First Aider.
– Roll the victim on his/her side; into the -recovery position’ after the seizure -jerking’ stops (roll them immediately if they have vomited).
– Reassure them until they have recovered from the seizure.
Alsco managed training First Aiders also are taught NOT to:
– Put anything in the victim’s mouth.
– Restrain the person.
– Move the person unless in danger.
– Apply CPR.
If the victim is in a wheelchair or similar, he or she should be left in the seat (with a seatbelt if possible); lean the person slightly to one side to drain any fluid or food or vomit in the mouth; support their heads and protect the airway; after jerking stops, the person should be removed from the chair and placed in a recovery position.
If your company is interested in a managed first aid training solution, call Alsco Training on 1300 651 706 for further information or to book an on-site survey with one of our consultants.
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