Seizures – How to Respond
Seizures occur more often than you might think; one in 10 people will suffer a seizure in their lifetime. A seizure can be scary, but just like it’s important to know basic CPR, you should also know how to help someone who is having a seizure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these steps to help a person who is having any type of seizure:
- Stay with person and keep them safe from injury until the seizure ends. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and can talk, tell them what happened in plain terms.
- Comfort person and speak calmly.
- Keep yourself and other people calm.
- Check to see if person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
- Offer to call a taxi, friend or relative to make sure person makes it home safely.
For persons having a generalized seizure with muscle stiffening, jerking, falling or loss of awareness, previously known as a grand mal seizure, according to the CDC, here’s how you can help:
- Ease person to the floor.
- Turn person gently onto one side, which will help breathing.
- Clear area around person of anything hard or sharp to prevent injury.
- Place something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
- Take off eyeglasses.
- Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make it difficult to breathe.
- Time the seizure. Call 911 if seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
Do not hold person down; do not put anything in their mouth; do not give mouth-to-mouth breaths; and do not offer food or water until person is fully alert.
Should I call 911?
Seizures are not usually a medical emergency, but you should call 911 if one of the following happens:
- The person has never had a seizure before.
- The person has difficulty breathing or waking after the seizure.
- The seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
- The person has another seizure soon after the first one.
- The person is hurt during seizure.
- The seizure happens in water.
- The person has a health condition like diabetes, heart disease or is pregnant.
Learn more about epilepsy care and seizure treatment.
Memorial Medical Center is home to the only Level 3 adult Epilepsy Center in Springfield and is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers.