How to Help the Victim
If you are present when someone has a seizure (a convulsion), follow these guidelines:
Keep calm (you're useless if you lose your cool).
Help the person to the floor to help avoid injury.
Cushion the person's head with a folded coat or other material to help avoid head injury.
Remove any sharp objects from the scene that could cause injury.
Loosen tight neckware so the person can breathe easily.
Turn the person on one side so saliva can flow from the mouth.
Do NOT put anything in the person's mouth (this is dangerous for you and the person if another seizure happens).
Do NOT hold the person down.
If you don't know the person, look for their I.D.
As the seizure ends - offer help by calming the person.
Most seizures end naturally without medical treatment, especially in a young child with a fever or older persons with epilepsy. However, a seizure may be a sign of an underlying illness. Call for medical assistance if:
A seizure lasts more than 5 minutes;
The person is not known to have "epilepsy/seizure disorder" (personally or via their I.D.);
The person's recovery from the seizure is slow;
The victim has a second seizure;
The person has difficulty breathing afterwards;
The victim is a pregnant woman;
The person has diabetes (again, check the I.D.) or is clearly ill; or
There are signs of injury.
Some people will sleep or want to rest following a seizure. They may also be confused and need help getting home. Parents should be contacted if a child has a seizure.
If you know that the person experiencing a seizure has epilepsy, an ambulance is probably unnecessary unless the seizure is prolonged (more than five minutes). If you don't know, or if the person is diabetic, ill, or pregnant, get medical help.
Back to complete list