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Absence Seizures (previously called petit mal seizures)

An absence seizure involves brief episodes of staring with impairment of awareness, usually for a few seconds only, which may go unnoticed unless frequent. Absence seizures begin and end abruptly. The person stares vacantly; the eyes may drift upwards and flicker. It may be mistaken for daydreaming or zoning out and the person will not be responsive to touch or voice.

  • Recognize that a seizure has occurred
  • Reassure the person, and
  • Repeat any information that may have been missed during the seizure.