First Aid Tips on Keeping a Person with a Seizure Safe

Protecting and Providing Comfort to a Person Having a Seizure

Checking the pulse of someone who has collapsed.
Checking the pulse of someone who has collapsed. RunPhoto/Getty Images

Whether you know a loved one with epilepsy, or perhaps know a co-worker or an acquaintance with it, there might be a chance that you witness a seizure. While it's a scary experience to have a seizure, it can be just as frightening to witness one –- especially if you do not know what to do.

Here are some helpful tips you can use to help assist someone who is having a convulsive seizure, your main goal to ensure the safety of the person and provide comfort.

By knowing what to do, you can help prevent injury to the person having the seizure, as well as reassure others around you who don’t know what to do.

  • If you see somebody begin to have a seizure, do not panic. Take a deep breath and remain calm.
  • If the individual is sitting upright in a chair when the seizure begins, gently guide him or her to the floor or try to prevent them from falling. Head injuries are common in individuals having a seizure and usually result from the fall at the onset of the seizures.
  • Remove all heavy or sharp objects away from the individual having the seizure so that he does not injure himself. This includes tables, chairs, or any other hard structures.
  • You might place something soft, like a jacket or blanket, beneath the person's head to prevent head injuries.
  • If possible, place the individual in the lateral position (on their side). While it may be helpful to loosen belts or ties while the individual is having the seizure to help them breathe easier, never hold somebody down during his seizure. Let the seizure take its course.
  • Many people worry about the individual swallowing or biting their tongue during the seizure. While this may be of concern, never place your fingers in someone’s mouth during their seizure. Not only could this harm the individual by causing injury to their jaw or obstructing their airway, you could also be injured by getting your hand bitten.

    When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention

    After an individual has had a seizure, it's common for them to be unconscious for a short period of time. Some tips on knowing when to call 911 for emergency help, according to the Epilepsy Foundation include:

    • a seizure that lasts 5 minutes or longer
    • seizures that occur one after another without a person becoming conscious between each one
    • seizures that occur closer together that were is typical for that person.
    • When the person having the seizure has trouble breathing or is choking
    • When the person having the seizure asks for medical attention.

    It's also important to seek emergent help if the seizure occurs in water or if an injury occurs due to the seizure.

    What to do When the Seizure Ends?

    When the individual has woken up from their seizure, he may be disoriented and may not know what happened. Reassure them that everything is OK and calmly let them know what happened. It's important to make sure that injuries, if any, are addressed.


    O'Hara KA. First aid for seizures: the importance of education and appropriate response. J Child Neurol. 22(5 Suppl):30S-7S.

    Hayes C. Clinical skills: a practical guide for managing adults with epilepsy. Br J Nurs.13(7):380-7.

    Epilepsy Foundation. Seizure First Aid. Retrieved January 1st, 2016.

    DISCLAIMER: The information in this site is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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