Seizure First Aid Do’s and Don’ts

A seizure can be a frightening event for the person who is experiencing it as well as the bystander.  According to WebMD, “tonic-clonic seizures are the most dramatic and frightening.”

During tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures, a person may convulse (jerking movements), lose consciousness, have stiffened muscles or bite their tongue or cheek.  A person can also lose control of their bladder or bowels.

What should you do in the event that someone you know is having a tonic- clonic seizure? Here is how you can help them:

  • Keep calm
  • Cushion or support their head
  • Look to see if they own an epilepsy card or identification jewelry-this may provide you with information about the next steps you can take
  • Protect them from injury by removing objects  within reach
  • Lay them on their side
  • Loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck
  • Time how long convulsions last
  • Once convulsions have stopped, place them in the recovery position (pictured below)







It is also important to know what not to do during these seizures, do not:

  • Put anything in their mouths
  • Restrict or restrain their movements
  • Try to move them (only do so if they are in danger)
  • Feed them or give them beverages (wait until they are fully alert)

If seizures continue for more than five minutes, call 9-1-1 immediately.   Other times you should call emergency services is if, you know this is the person’s first seizure, they are having seizures one after the other, they are pregnant, there are injuries caused by the seizure or you believe they are in need of urgent medical attention.

For more information on seizure first aid, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.