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First Aid: What To Do When Someone Has A Seizure

Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.


If a loved one or someone you know experiences an episode, it’s always best to be prepared to know what to do.

Knowing how to assist someone with a seizure can make a big difference and save their life. Individuals experiencing seizures may be confused, unaware of what is happening, or unconscious. If a loved one or someone you know experiences an episode, it’s always best to be prepared to know what to do.

First aid tips for seizures:

  • Carry a medical ID with you or your loved one so that others can provide you with the proper medical assistance.
  • Teach your friends, family, and co-workers about first aid for seizures, so they know what to do when you experience them.
  • When your seizures are uncontrolled, avoid all high places or moving machinery.
  • Keeping active is important but being wise in choosing your spots is key. Although if your seizures are well controlled, you can lead an everyday life.
  • Consult with your doctor before discontinuing an anticonvulsant medication you may be taking, as this type of medication depends on what kind of epilepsy you have. The dose is determined by your weight, age, gender, etc.
  • Be aware of the potential risks of possible drug interactions with your medication.
  • When taking medications for epilepsy, avoid alcohol as it may interfere with your prescription and lower the brain’s threshold for seizures.
  • Be sure to avoid alcohol as it might interfere with the effectiveness of your medication and may lower the brain’s seizure threshold.

What should I do when someone has a seizure?

  • Do not attempt to restrain or hold down a person experiencing a seizure.
  • Keep their airways free by laying the person on their side to maintain an open airway and prevent the person from inhaling any secretions following the seizure. Try to loosen the clothing around the neck safely.
  • Avoid putting anything in their mouth as it may damage their teeth, or they might bite you.
  • Be sure to remove any sharp or hard objects to prevent further injury.
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  • Do not leave the person alone to call for help unless necessary.

Should I call 911?

It is usually not necessary to call 911 if the person is known to have epilepsy, but do call 911 if the seizure:

  • Their seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • They experience another seizure right after the first.
  • The person has other medical conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.
  • They cannot be awakened after the movements have stopped.

How to handle seizures in children?

  • Count and record the episodes if the child is experiencing a Petit Mal seizure.
  • If they are experiencing a partial or Myoclonic seizure, speak calmly and guide them to a safe place. Stay close to them until the seizure has stopped.
  • In case of an Atonic seizure, comfort the child and check for any injuries.
  • Be on the lookout for clusters of Infantile Spasms attacks and comfort the child if it occurs.

Hopefully, these suggestions will benefit you in understanding and caring for a family member or friend who suffers from seizures.

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