Helping Someone Having a Seizure
Seizures are unpredictable and can be potentially dangerous in some situations.
Seizures mostly run their own course but there are a few things that can help, like keeping the person safe, staying with them and timing the seizure. It is crucial that during a seizure the person is not restrained in any way and nothing is put in their mouth. After a tonic clonic seizure, put the person in the recovery position if you can. It is important for people with epilepsy to tell relevant people such as friends, relatives, colleagues, classmates, teachers or coaches, about epilepsy and advise them what to do if a seizure happens.
Basic First Aid
- Stay with the person
- Time the seizure
- Keep the person safe: protect from injury especially the head
- Roll the person onto side after the seizure stops, or immediately if food, fluid, or vomit is in the mouth
- Observe and monitor their breathing
- Gently reassure them until they have recovered – it is a good idea to make sure they have someone that can go home with them
- Put anything in the person’s mouth
- Restrain the person – this may cause them to become agitated
- Move the person, unless they are in danger
When to Call an Ambulance
Seizures generally run their course and an ambulance isn’t always necessary. Call an ambulance if:
- You are in any doubt
- The person is injured
- There is food, fluid or vomit in mouth (they may have inhaled it)
- The seizure happens in water
- The person has breathing difficulties after the seizure stops
- Another seizure quickly follows
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 mins
- The person is non-responsive for more than 5 mins after the seizure ends
Develop a Safety Plan
Having a Seizure Management Plan (SMP) readily available—for example at school or the workplace—will help reduce the impact of seizures for the person with epilepsy, and help others to manage their seizures appropriately.
A SMP includes information on:
- emergency contacts
- seizure and (relevant) medical history, a description of the seizures(s) the person experiences
- safety and supervision needs
- instructions about medication (if any)
- seizure management and first aid.
Some people are prescribed medication to be given outside the hospital setting for seizure emergencies. If an emergency medication plan is needed, we can assist, as well as offer the necessary training for those involved in caring or supporting someone with epilepsy.
Create a Seizure Management Plan Online
We have an online tool where you can create your own SMP.
Simply register as an EAA client first, then follow the instructions to create a SMP.
We also have other formats for Seizure Management Plans if you prefer. Go to Seizure Management Planning
Seizure First Aid Posters
You can print the following posters and put up on display for easy reference at home, school or in the workplace.