If an individual is experiencing a seizure, you should stay calm. Even though an episode seems to last for long time, it does not usually last more than 60-90 seconds. If possible, record the length of the seizure. In case it lasts longer than 5 minutes or the individual is pregnant, call for emergency assistance right away.
A seizure momentarily disrupts with muscle control, vision, movement, speech or awareness. This can cause the whole body to shake violently for a few seconds up to a few minutes and the individual might lose consciousness.
The seizures can range from mild to severe and can affect one differently. If an individual is experiencing one, there are measures that can be done.
How to assist an individual during a seizure
- The initial step is to protect the individual from injury. Prevent him/her from falling if possible or guide him/her gently to the floor. Move away any furniture or other objects that might cause injury.
- If the individual is on the ground, position the individual on his/her side so that fluid can drain out of the mouth. Just be careful not to place too much pressure on the body.
- Avoid forcing your fingers into the mouth of the individual.
- Do not attempt to hold the individual down since this can result to injury such as a dislocated shoulder.
Helping an individual after an episode
- Assess the individual for any injuries
- If the individual could not be turned onto his/her side during a seizure, do so once it ends when he/she is more relaxed.
- In case the individual has difficulty breathing, utilize your finger to carefully clear the mouth of any saliva or vomit. If this is not effective, call for emergency assistance.
- Loosen up constricted clothing around the waist and neck of the individual.
- Provide a safe zone where the individual can rest.
- Do not provide anything to drink or eat until the individual is awake and alert.
- Stay with him/her until awake and familiar with his/her surroundings. In most cases, the individual might be sleepy or confused after an episode.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on a seizure is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage seizures by taking a standard first aid course with one of our training providers.