Helping A Seizure Sufferer

A seizure can be frightening for those who experience them and for those trying to help them, as baseball fans and players discovered this weekend in Houston. CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports.

It was the bottom of the eighth inning when the Houston Astros' manager Larry Dierker had a seizure. He was taken to a hospital where he will undergo brain surgery. His prognosis is excellent.

A seizure occurs when there is an electrical disturbance in the brain. It can result in involuntary and uncontrollable muscle spasms, twitching of extremities, labored breathing, and eyes rolling back in the head and unconsciousness.

Seizures can be caused by a number of different things -- a brain tumor, a stroke, a mass of blood vessels that are abnormal, epilepsy and drug toxicity. Luckily, there are good medications available to control all kinds of seizures.

If someone is having a seizure, there are a few things to remember, says Dr. Senay.

  • First, don't panic, and move things out of the way so they can't hurt themselves. Make sure they can't fall or flail around and hit anything.
  • Call 911
  • Do not put anything in the person's mouth. Although tongue-biting is a problem, there's very little an untrained bystander can do to prevent it. Putting something in the person's mouth to stop it can do more damage than good.
Nine times out of ten, a seizure that runs its course will not cause any permanent damage in itself. Most people come out of seizures just fine, but a doctor needs to try to determine what caused it, Dr. Senay says.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay