Seizure First Aid

Two common questions people have about seizures are – “What should I do if I see someone else have a seizure?” and “What should I tell others to do if I have a seizure?” Nothing is more difficult than feeling helpless when a seizure occurs and it can invoke fear when someone does not know what to do or what is happening.

Most seizures are not a medical emergency and require simple first aid responses. The appropriate seizure first aid response depends on what type of seizure you are witnessing.

We encourage people living with epilepsy to disclose their seizures to those who have the potential to witness them and explain appropriate seizure first aid with your friends, family, school or co-workers.

General Seizure First Aid Tips:

  • Stay calm
  • Track the time: a typical seizure should last no longer than 5 minutes. If it continues longer than 5 minutes, call 911
  • Look for medical identification (bracelet/necklace)
  • Protect the person from possible hazards
  • Speak calmly and be reassuring
  • Remain with the person after the seizure until they have regained full awareness
  • Be supportive and be a good friend by providing appropriate emotional support afterwards

When a Seizure is an Emergency — Call 911!

  • A seizure lasts more than 5 minutes
  • First time seizure
  • Repeated seizures without regaining consciousness
  • Person is injured, has diabetes or is pregnant
  • Seizure occurs in water