by Patricia Siswandjo on

Her 18-year-old daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy in August 2018.

Since then, she has experienced over 20 tonic-clonic seizures – which usually last one to three minutes – almost once every week.

But since upping her dosage of medication in April, her daughter has gone seizure-free for two and a half months.

Until yesterday.

Posting on Reddit on Jul 17 as Helplessmum, she wrote about the harrowing ordeal.

“My child had a seizure around 4.30pm at Sengkang MRT,” she said.

But thankfully, she didn’t have to deal with it alone, as many kind strangers stepped in to offer her assistance.

“(I’m posting) here to thank whoever was there to help her when she was in need,” Helplessmum added gratefully. “And a big thanks to the taxi driver for charging me half the fare from the north area to Sengkang Community Hospital.”

Reddit thread became impromptu sharing session on first aid

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Image Source: Shutterstock / arnon tepinjai

Besides offering their well-wishes to Helplessmum and her daughter, Singaporean Redditors soon began sharing useful and informative tips on how to help a person with epilepsy, should anyone ever come across someone in need.

For example, it is a common myth that if you see someone having a seizure, you should place something in their mouths to prevent them from biting their tongue.

But many Reddit users were quick to jump in to debunk that age-old myth.

One user said: “When someone has a seizure, turn them to their side. Don’t put anything in their mouth.”

Redditor Ehohteeetch agreed, writing: “The biting of tongue is quite an old story, probably stemming from the ‘clattering teeth’ observation.”

He also advised turning the patient onto their side as it would allow the tongue to fall forward, which would help keep their airway clear.

Additionally, should the victim vomit, being turned onto their side would allow the liquid to drain out through the mouth, so as not to backflow into the airway.

Ehohteeetch also added that bystanders should refrain from holding the victim, or restraining them during the seizure.

“… Their strength will be crazy and unpredictable, so you’ll probably just end up being elbowed in your face or something,” he explained.

Instead, he suggested: “If possible, put something below the head to cushion the victim’s head in case they repeatedly hit their head on the floor.”

Another Reddit user, Denatured_enzyme_, who appears to have epilepsy as well, agreed with Ehohteeetch’s advice. “Don’t put anything in their mouth, because it will obstruct air flow and they’ll be unable to breathe,” she wrote. “Their throat muscles are constricted enough as it is, and they would already be choking up during the seizure.”

In a later comment, Denatured_enzyme_ wrote: “Good to know there are people who helped!”

Concurring, Helplessmum replied: “Yes, lots of helpful people!”

We can only imagine how difficult such a situation can be. So, it’s heartening to know that there are many kind and helpful – not to mention, knowledgeable – Singaporeans who stepped up to help Helplessmum, both during and after her daughter’s seizure.

When we come across such situations in public, many of us may be unsure of how to lend a hand.

But instead of fearing that we’d look “stupid or silly” while trying to help someone else, let’s try to put aside our inhibitions, and reach out to others in their moment of need.

Like Helplessmum’s example shows, a small act of kindness can go a long way.