CONSUMER HEALTH! “It’s dangerous to forcibly stop seizures at home” – Experts

CONSUMER HEALTH! “It’s dangerous to forcibly stop seizures at home” – Experts


Paediatricians have cautioned parents to stop trying to stop seizures in children right at home, saying, foisting objects in-between their teeth is even more harmful and does not actually seize seizures.

The experts who spoke to  Sodiq Ojuroungbe of the Punch newspaper, said engaging in such harmful practices does not stop the medical condition, but are rather dangerous and could cause a child life-threatening harm.

According to them, it is a myth without any scientific backing that forcing objects like spoons, sticks or even the fingers to stop seizures does not do the job.

A consultant Paediatrician at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile-Ife, Prof. John Okeniyi, and his counterpart, a Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Dr. Bukola Sayomi, both stressed that home attempts at aborting seizures could be injurious to children.

Prof. Okeniyi explained that some seizures could arise due to infections of tissues in the nervous system.

CONSUMER HEALTH! “It’s dangerous to forcibly stop seizures at home” – Experts
CONSUMER HEALTH! “It’s dangerous to forcibly stop seizures at home” – Experts

He noted that children can also have convulsion when there is low levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

Prof. Okeniyi, who is also the Head of Department, Paediatrics and Child Health, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, said that seizures can be the aftermath or complications of past adversities, such as brain injury, head trauma, failure to initiate breathing early enough at birth and severe jaundice in babies, among other factors.

He said, “Seizures are abnormal electrical brain activities and convulsions are the physical motor manifestations of such abnormal brain activities.

“The person having seizures lack awareness of the events and may lose control of bodily functions such as urination and defecation. When quizzed, those of age may not remember the events either.

“This means that seizures can also manifest as non-physical autonomic features such as the person seeing, smelling or hearing things that are unreal. These may include abnormal cries, excessive sweating, salivation and forming of tears, and “somatization” of symptoms e.g., a headache and abdominal pain.

“Seizures can be very terrifying to any eyewitness, particularly a parent. In this part of the world, many people have held on to an erroneous belief that once the mouth of a person having a seizure is closed and the teeth clenched, the person will die.

“This is not true. So, the person around acts out of love and ignorance to prevent such clenching by forcibly using any available object, such as a metal spoon to wedge the teeth. These acts worsen the situation as they can inflict injuries, removal and at times swallowing of teeth, or worse, aspiration of such teeth or vomit into the airway and lungs. This can inadvertently hurt or kill such a child.”