Treat a Seizure
Edited by Train Wreck, Eng, VisiHow
In another article, we discuss how to recognize a seizure. If it is determined that a seizure is, in fact, occurring, this article will go over some ways you can give first aid for the victim. However, due to extremely personal nature of most seizures, your main task is only going to be providing basic care and comfort to the person suffering the seizure. You will provide that comfort until the episode ends. This means that in most cases, you'll only be a witness to what happens. Make sure the person doesn't hurt himself or herself on nearby objects. Remember that in a majority of cases, a seizure, while possibly frightening, is not life-threatening. While the care you provide may depend on the type of seizure the victim is experiencing, there are still general guidelines for most types of seizure.
Note that, as with all medical articles here on VisiHow, the steps below are given for informational purposes. We are not doctors, and while some of the contributors to our articles are certified in CPR and other first aid techniques, the intent of our topics is to empower you with information. We are not giving medical advice. If you need or want medical advice, seek the counsel of a trained professional. What we hope for this article to do is give you enough information about how to treat a seizure that you can make the decision about whether proper certification is something you're interested in or whether you'd prefer to let someone else take care of it. You'll also not be completely unprepared to take some of the common sense steps to treating seizures, which don't even involve touching the person having a seizure.
Basic First Aid for Any Type of Seizure
- 1If you witness a seizure, stay with the victim to keep him or her comfortable and time the seizure. The reason for timing the seizure is that most seizures should be over within a couple of minutes. The Mayo Clinic, a leading Neurology hospital in the U.S., as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both recommend contacting a medical professional if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes.Advertisement
- 2Someone must also remain with the seizure victim until the episode ends, as he or she may injure himself or herself, become completely unconscious, or have fallen and need first aid.Advertisement
- 5Remember, you will be better able to help the victim of a seizure if you remain calm and keep anyone else nearby calm as well. As mentioned previously, other than calling the hospital, there is very little you can do to help someone having a seizure until the seizure has passed and they have regained consciousness.
First Aid for a Tonic-Clonic or Grand Mal Seizure
Most people think of a Tonic-Clonic or Grand Mal seizure when they imagine how someone experiencing a seizure looks. A victim experiencing this type of seizure may yell, experience shaking or jerking motions, or even become non-responsive. Basic treatment for this type of seizure does not differ greatly from the basic first aid techniques described above, but it is a little different, which is why we have given it a separate section here.
- 1As mentioned, there are a few additional steps that you can take to make sure a person experiencing this type of seizure remains as comfortable and safe as possible. For this type of seizure, it is more important to clear the area of hard or sharp objects, ease the victim to the floor, and turn him or her to their side in order to enable easy breathing.Advertisement
What Not to Do
Knowing how you should not respond to a seizure is just as important as knowing exactly what to do. Never do any of the following:
- 1Do not restrain the person. You should not try to restrain a victim by force, as he or she may respond aggressively or become injured. Instead, work on providing a safe space for him or her until the episode has ended.
After the Seizure Has Ended
- 1Remain with the victim after the seizure has ended to talk with him or her and keep him or her calm.
- 2A person waking from a seizure may be afraid, confused, or embarrassed and should be reassured as well as kept calm.
- 3Offer to stay with him or her or have another person stay with him or her until he or she is fully alert.
- 4If emergency services were not called during the seizure and the victim requests medical attention, you should help call an ambulance at that time.
Remember that in most cases, a seizure is not life-threatening. This means that basic common sense care can be taken until the victim is fully alert. Even though basic aid can help someone recover, someone who is suffering a seizure or who is injured in the process of having a seizure should still always be evaluated by a medical professional. The best thing you can do as a witness is to keep everyone calm, make sure the victim is safe, and make sure that the victim is as comfortable as possible, and that the seizure does not last an abnormally long time.
Links and References
See our other tutorials on health: Give First Aid, Recognize a Seizure, Give CPR to an Infant, Give CPR, Get Help with a Drinking Problem, Give PPV (Positive Pressure Ventilation), Make Yourself Throw Up, and Setup Emergency Medical ID on an iPhone 6s Plus.