What is Status Epilepticus? What should you know about it? Status epilepticus is characterized as a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes or has multiple seizures within 5 minutes without returning to a normal state of consciousness after the episodes. This time-sensitive aspect of the condition is why it is so vital to time a seizure.
There are multiple types of Status Epilepticus, one being Convulsive Status Epilepticus. This is when the seizure(s) are tonic-clonic in nature. A Status of this nature requires medical intervention. There is also Nonconvulsive Status Epilepticus. This is when someone is seen “staring off.” There is no determined time frame for when this becomes an emergency, but the rule of thumb is once it lasts longer than the person’s usual seizures, it becomes Status Epilepticus.
What should you do if someone is in Status Epilepticus? First, you want to practice your basic Epilepsy first aid. Put them on their side, clear objects away from them, loosen any tight clothing, make sure their airway is secure, etc. (please see other posts and information online for further advice on basic first aid). If you know that the individual has rescue medicine, administer the medication when they become Status. If the individual does not have medication or you are unsure how to give the medication, call 911 properly. It is extremely important that if a friend or loved one has epilepsy, you ask them to review their personal medication requirements and show you how to administer said medication properly.
Common forms of emergency medicine include nasal spray or liquid that gets put on the gums. These medications are easy to use if appropriately educated. Please refer to your basic seizure first aid and ask the people you know that have epilepsy what to do if they go into Status Epilepticus and if they have emergency medication and how to use it.