Protecting a Person During a Seizure
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if:
- The person having the seizure stops breathing. After calling 911 or other emergency services, begin rescue breathing.
- The seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes.
- The person seizing is pregnant (no matter how long the seizure lasts).
- More than one seizure occurs within 24 hours.
During a seizure:
- Protect the person from injury.
- Keep him or her from falling if you can, or try to guide the person gently to the floor.
- Try to move furniture or other objects that might injure the person during the seizure.
- If the person is having a seizure and is on the ground when you arrive, put something soft under his or her head.
- Do not force anything, including your fingers, into the person's mouth. Putting something in the person's mouth may cause injuries to him or her, such as chipped teeth or a fractured jaw. You could also get bitten.
- Turn the person onto his or her side, with the mouth down, unless the person resists being moved.
- Do not try to hold down or move the person.
- Try to stay calm.
- If the person vomits, turn the person onto his or her side.
- Pay close attention
to what the person is doing so that you can describe the seizure to rescue
personnel or doctors.
- What kind of body movement occurred?
- How long did the seizure last?
- How did the person act immediately after the seizure?
- Are there any injuries from the seizure?
- Time the length of the seizure, if possible.
After a seizure:
- Check the person for injuries.
- If you could not turn the person onto his or her side during the seizure, do so when the seizure ends and the person is more relaxed.
- If the person is having trouble breathing, use your finger to gently clear his or her mouth of any vomit or saliva.
- Loosen tight clothing around the person's neck and waist.
- Provide a safe area where the person can rest.
- Do not offer anything to eat or drink until the person is fully awake and alert.
- Stay with the person until he or she is awake and familiar with the surroundings. Most people will be sleepy or confused after a seizure.
A person who has had a seizure should not drive, swim, climb ladders, or operate machinery until he or she has seen a doctor about the seizure and the doctor has said the person is allowed to drive or operate machinery.
Current as of: March 20, 2017
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.