First Aid: Seizures
A seizure results from a sudden rush
of abnormal electrical signals in the brain. Symptoms may range from a minor daze
uncontrollable muscle spasms (convulsions). In many cases, the person will faint (lose
consciousness). A seizure can be caused by a high fever, head injury, medicine reaction,
condition such as epilepsy.
Step 1. Protect the head
Help the person to the floor
if they start losing muscle control. Turn them on their side. This is to help them
breathe better. It also helps prevent choking or having a foreign object get into
their airway (aspiration).
Protect the person's head
from injury by placing something soft under it, such as folded clothes. Also move
any objects away from the person.
Don't cause injury by
restraining the person or by placing anything in their mouth. Don't try to hold
the person's tongue.
Step 2. Preserve dignity
Clear away bystanders.
Reassure the person. They may
be confused, drowsy, or hostile when coming out of the seizure.
Cover the person or provide dry clothes if muscle spasms have caused a loss of bladder
Step 3. Check for injury
Make sure the person's mental
state has returned to normal. One way to do this is to ask them their name, the
year, and your location.
Injuries can occur to the
head, mouth, tongue, or body.
- Check to see if the person is wearing a medical information
bracelet with instructions
Step 4. Call
911 right away if:
The seizure lasts longer
than 5 minutes. Timing the seizure and recovery time is helpful in many cases.
A second seizure occurs
The person doesn’t regain
The person is pregnant, has
diabetes, or heart disease
The victim has no history of
The person has an injury
during the seizure.