Helping a Person During a Seizure
If you see someone who is having a seizure, stay calm. Although seizures seem to last a long time, they usually last less than 3 minutes.
A seizure can be scary to watch, especially if you've never seen one before. A seizure temporarily interferes with muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness. It may cause a person's entire body to shake for a few seconds to a few minutes, and they may lose consciousness.
Seizures can be mild to severe, and they affect people differently. Even though you may feel helpless around someone having a seizure and find it difficult to watch, there are many things you can do to help.
Time the seizure, if you can. If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or the person seizing is pregnant (no matter how long the seizure lasts), call 911 or other emergency services immediately.
You may be able to provide valuable feedback to the doctor treating the person having the seizure. Try to remember:
- How the person's body moved.
- How long the seizure lasted.
- How the person acted before the seizure.
- How the person acted immediately after the seizure.
- Whether the person suffered any injuries from the seizure.
When to get emergency help
Seizures do not always require urgent care. But call 911 or other emergency services right away if:
- The person having a seizure stops breathing for longer than 30 seconds. After calling 911 or other emergency services, begin rescue breathing.
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- The person seizing is pregnant (no matter how long the seizure lasts).
- More than one seizure occurs within 24 hours.
- The person having a seizure does not respond normally within 1 hour.
- The person has new symptoms, such as trouble walking, speaking, or thinking clearly.
- The person has a fever.
- A seizure occurs after the person complains of a sudden, severe headache.
- A seizure follows a head injury.
- A person with diabetes has a seizure.
- A seizure occurs after eating poison or breathing fumes.
- The person complains of severe pain after waking up or develops a fever within 24 hours of the seizure.
Current as of:
August 25, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Steven C. Schachter MD - Neurology
Current as of: August 25, 2022
John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Steven C. Schachter MD - Neurology