First Aid for Seizures

Here’s an item of epilepsy news that can’t be repeated too often. WebMD offers sound advice about how to respond when someone has a seizure.

The most important rule is this: Don’t panic. Seizures can appear frightening, but they only last a few minutes at the most. They look like a medical emergency, but they’re generally not. Help other people in the area stay calm, too, asking them to make room for the person who’s having a seizure.

The person who’s having the seizure may be unaware of her surroundings and actions and may or may not able to hear you. If she’s unresponsive, raising your voice won’t help, so speak softly and calmly.

Your most important first aid job is to protect her from harm until she regains awareness. Loosen any clothes or accessories that fit tightly around her neck. If you need to, ease her gently to the floor to keep her from falling during the seizure. Don’t try to hold or restrain her.

Remove any hard or sharp objects in the immediate area. If she’s wearing glasses, gently remove them. Push any pieces of furniture away.

Do not try to insert anything in her mouth to keep her from swallowing her tongue or biting. It’s physically impossible for humans to swallow their tongues. Forcing her jaw open to insert a spoon or another object can break her teeth or cause other injury.

Place something soft under her head—a pillow, folded up jacket, or other cushion. Then stay calmly by her side.

After her seizure stops, help her to roll onto her side. This helps her breathe better and keeps her from inhaling any saliva that might have pooled in the back of her throat.

Many people are confused following a seizure. Stay with her, talking gently and quietly, reassuring her and helping her orient herself again.

Discuss this with the support group.

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About Arlene Martell

Arlene Martell is the publisher of and the author of Getting Adam Back – A Mother's triumph over Epilepsy and Autism. She resides in a seaside suburb on Vancouver BC Canada with her husband James and their four children Adam, Justin, Shelby and Victoria.