What Should You Do During a Seizure?

Find out what to do if you or someone else is having a seizure, from calling an ambulance to dealing with the aftermath.

When someone is having a seizure, it can be terrifying because it seems like everything is out of control. However, most seizures don’t require medical help and can eventually stop without any permanent damage or side effects. Even though that is true, they aren’t less terrifying to witness, and knowing what to do can make a frightening situation less frightening. 

A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain that can cause changes in your behavior, movements, and consciousness. When most victims wake up from a seizure, they have no recollection of the event. There are several different types of seizures, and most last from 30 seconds to two minutes, and anything longer than five minutes warrants a 911 call.

Once someone is in the throes of a seizure there really isn’t anything you can do to stop it, but you can make sure the person is protected from themselves. Any general or basic seizure can be dangerous because the victim commits uncontrolled thrashing movements that could lead to injury. Sometimes a hospital visit is required because of the damage done during a seizure. 

Warning signs of a seizure 

  • Temporary confusion.
  • A staring spell.
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness.
  • Cognitive or emotional symptoms, such as fear, anxiety, or deja vu.
sign symptom of seizure

What should you do if you notice these signs?

Treating a seizure isn’t about prevention, of course, because the seizure is already taking place. Dealing with a seizure is more about precaution and protecting the victim. Here are some of the things you can do to help during a seizure:

  • Keep people out of the way.
  • Make sure the victim isn’t near harmful or sharp items.
  • Do not try to subdue the victim or attempt to stop the body movements.
  • Roll them on their side to keep their airway clear.
  • Time the seizure.
  • Don’t place anything in their mouths. They cannot swallow their tongue.

What should you do after a seizure?

First and foremost, remain calm to ensure the victim remains calm. If it’s a general seizure, the victim will recover on their own, but they will be confused and things will seem hazy to them. Talk to them and reassure them that everything is fine and they are okay. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, call 911. 

Treatment options for seizures

There are several different medications for seizures and finding the correct one can be a trial-and-error situation, and finding the right one that causes the fewest side effects is the goal. Doctors might even prescribe several different seizure medications to treat the illness. 

When should you see a neurologist?

Seizures are very common, but they can also happen after a stroke or a serious infection. The majority of seizure disorders are controlled with medication but they still have a profound impact on daily life. Doctors now have medication and other treatment options available to help better manage seizures and their side effects.


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