Seizure First Aid

About 1 out of 10 people has had a seizure. That means seizures are common, and one day you might need to help someone during or after a seizure. Learn what you can do to keep that person safe until the seizure stops by itself. Associate Editor Patty Osborne Shafer, RN, MN, introduces a series of videos about new approaches to seizure first aid. The videos will cover care and comfort first aid, how to respond to seizures, and techniques for sharing firs aid information with others.

First aid for generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures

When most people think of a seizure, they think of a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also called a grand mal seizure. In this type of seizure, the person may cry out, fall, shake or jerk, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

Here are things you can do to help someone who is having this type of seizure:

  • ·          Ease the person to the floor.
  • ·         Turn the person gently onto one side. This will help the person breathe.
  • ·         Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. This can prevent injury.
  • ·         Put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
  • ·         Remove eyeglasses.
  • ·         Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make it hard to breathe.
  • ·         Time the seizure. Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

First aid for seizures involves keeping the person safe until the seizure stops by itself.

First aid for any type of seizure

There are many types of seizures. Most seizures end in a few minutes. These are general steps to help someone who is having any type seizure:

Stay with the person until the seizure ends and he or she is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms.

  • ·         Comfort the person and speak calmly.
  • ·         Check to see if the person is wearing or a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
  • ·         Keep yourself and other people calm.
  • ·         Offer to call a taxi or another person to make sure the person gets home safely.


Source: The Epilpesy Foundation of America and the Centers for Disease Control. Updated 7/2017