First aid for epilepsy is basically simple. The goal is to keep the person safe until the seizure stops naturally by itself. It is important for the public to know how to respond to all seizures, including the most noticeable kind—generalized tonic-clonic seizures, absence seizures, simple partial seizures, drop attack seizures, myoclonic seizures, infantile spasms or convulsions.
When providing seizure first aid, these are the key things to remember:
- Keep calm and reassure other people who may be nearby.
- Most seizures only last a few minutes
- Don’t hold the person down or try to stop his movements.
- Time the seizure with your watch.
- Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp.
- Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult.
- Put something flat and soft, like a folded jacket, under the head.
- Turn him or her gently onto one side. This will help keep the airway clear.
- Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. It is not true that a person having a seizure can swallow his/her tongue. Efforts to hold the tongue down can cause serious injury.
- Don’t attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped.
- Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally.
- Once the situation is under control, encourage people to step back and give the person some room. Waking up to a crowd can be embarrassing and confusing for a person after a seizure.
- Be friendly and reassuring as consciousness returns.
- Offer to call a taxi, friend or relative to help the person get home if he seems confused or unable to get home by himself.
Call for Emergency Medical Help When:
- A seizure lasts 5 minutes or longer.
- One seizure occurs right after another without the person regaining consciousness or coming to between seizures.
- Seizures occur closer together than usual for that person.
- Breathing becomes difficult or the person appears to be choking.
- The seizure occurs in water.
- Injury may have occurred.
- The person asks for medical help.
If the patient/student having a seizure has a prescription for Diastat, please refer to this website for details on proper administration of the medication.
For more information, please contact the Epilepsy Foundation Texas at (888) 548-9716 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Aid for Generalized Tonic Clonic (Gran Mal) Seizures:
First Aid for Complex Partial, Psycho-motor and Temporal Lobe Seizures: