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    What to do if someone has a seizure (fit)

    Find out what you can do to help if you see someone having a seizure or fit.

    What to do if someone has a seizure (fit)

    If you see someone having a seizure or fit, there are some simple things you can do to help.

    It might be scary to witness, but do not panic.

    If you're with someone having a seizure:

    only move them if they're in danger, such as near a busy road or hot cooker

    cushion their head if they're on the ground

    loosen any tight clothing around their neck, such as a collar or tie, to aid breathing

    turn them on to their side after their convulsions stop – read more about the recovery position

    stay with them and talk to them calmly until they recover

    note the time the seizure starts and finishes

    If the person is in a wheelchair, put the brakes on and leave any seatbelt or harness on. Support them gently and cushion their head, but do not try to move them.

    Do not put anything in their mouth, including your fingers. They should not have any food or drink until they have fully recovered.

    When to call an ambulance

    Call 999 and ask for an ambulance if:

    it's the first time someone has had a seizure

    the seizure lasts longer than is usual for them

    the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, if you do not know how long their seizures usually last

    the person does not regain full consciousness, or has several seizures without regaining consciousness

    the person is seriously injured during the seizure

    People with epilepsy do not always need an ambulance or to go to hospital every time they have a seizure.

    They usually have a care plan agreed with doctors and their family or carers that says what to do when they have a seizure, such as giving emergency medicine. If you know what to do and have been trained then you can follow their care plan.

    Some people with epilepsy wear a special bracelet or carry a card to let medical professionals and anyone witnessing a seizure know they have epilepsy.

    Epilepsy Action has more information about seizures that last longer than 5 minutes.

    Make a note of any useful information

    If you see someone having a seizure, you may notice things that could be useful for the person or their doctor to know:

    What were they doing before the seizure?

    Did the person mention any unusual sensations, such as an odd smell or taste?

    Did you notice any mood change, such as excitement, anxiety or anger?

    What brought your attention to the seizure? Was it a noise, such as the person falling over, or body movements, such as their eyes rolling or head turning?

    Did the seizure happen without warning?

    Was there any loss of consciousness or altered awareness?

    Did the person's colour change? For example, did they become pale, flushed or blue? If so, where – the face, lips or hands?

    Did any parts of their body stiffen, jerk or twitch? If so, which parts?

    Did the person's breathing change?

    Did they perform any actions, such as mumble, wander about or fumble with clothing?

    How long did the seizure last?

    Did the person lose control of their bladder or bowel?

    Did they bite their tongue?

    How were they after the seizure?

    Did they need to sleep? If so, for how long?

    You can watch healthtalk.org videos of people talking about having epileptic seizures.

    The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) also has useful leaflets you can download about a first seizure without a fever in children and young people.

    Keeping a seizure diary

    If you have epilepsy, it can be helpful to record the details of your seizures in a diary.

    Read more about seizure diaries and download one for free from:

    Epilepsy Action: seizure diary

    Epilepsy Society: seizure diaries

    Page last reviewed: 15 December 2020

    Next review due: 15 December 2023

    Source : www.nhs.uk

    Seizure First Aid

    First aid for seizures is what you can do to keep a person safe until the seizure stops by itself.

    Seizure First Aid

    Español (Spanish)

    About 1 out of 10 people may have a seizure during his or her lifetime. That means seizures are common, and one day you might need to help someone during or after a seizure.

    Learn what you can do to keep that person safe until the seizure stops by itself.

    About 1 out of 10 people may have a seizure during his or her lifetime.

    Do I call 911?

    Seizures do not usually require emergency medical attention. Only call 911 if one or more of these are true:

    The person has never had a seizure before.

    The person has difficulty breathing or waking after the seizure.

    The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

    The person has another seizure soon after the first one.

    The person is hurt during the seizure.

    The seizure happens in water.

    The person has a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or is pregnant.

    First aid for any type of seizure

    Stay with the person until the seizure ends and he or she is fully awake.

    There are many types of seizures. Most seizures end in a few minutes.

    These are general steps to help someone who is having any type seizure:

    Stay with the person until the seizure ends and he or she is fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms.

    Comfort the person and speak calmly.

    Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.

    Keep yourself and other people calm.

    Offer to call a taxi or another person to make sure the person gets home safely.

    First aid for generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures

    When most people think of a seizure, they think of a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, also called a grand mal seizure. In this type of seizure, the person may cry out, fall, shake or jerk, and become unaware of what’s going on around them.

    Here are things you can do to help someone who is having this type of seizure:

    Ease the person to the floor.

    Turn the person gently onto one side. This will help the person breathe.

    Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. This can prevent injury.

    Put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.

    Remove eyeglasses.

    Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make it hard to breathe.

    Time the seizure. Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

    Stop! Do NOT

    Knowing what NOT to do is important for keeping a person safe during or after a seizure.

    Never do any of the following things

    Do not hold the person down or try to stop his or her movements.

    Do not put anything in the person’s mouth. This can injure teeth or the jaw. A person having a seizure cannot swallow his or her tongue.

    Do not try to give mouth-to-mouth breaths (like CPR). People usually start breathing again on their own after a seizure.

    Do not offer the person water or food until he or she is fully alert.

    More About First Aid

    American Red Cross First Aid AppDownload the free Red Cross app for instant access to step-by-step first aid advice, including advice about seizures and epilepsy.Epilepsy Foundation Seizure First Aid and SafetyLearn more about how to respond to seizures safely.Mental Health First Aid Training  This evidence-based program can help people recognize mental health crises and learn how to connect a person to mental health care.

    external icon external icon external icon More About Epilepsy

    Types of Seizures Learn about the different types of seizures.Managing Epilepsy Learn what you can do to manage your epilepsy.Fast Facts Find out about epilepsy in the United States, such as how many people have epilepsy.

    Training Programs for Professionals

    Epilepsy and seizure training programs for professionals including

    School staff.

    First responders and law enforcement.

    Older adult caregivers.

    Mental health professionals.

    Childcare providers.

    Learn more about Training for Professionals.

    Source : www.cdc.gov

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