What are the Basics of Seizure First Aid?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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A seizure can be a frightening occurrence to witness, and it is important to keep calm when someone is experiencing a seizure. The steps in administering seizure first aid are impossible unless the witness can do one important thing first: stay calm. Seizures generally only last a few seconds to a few minutes, so seizure first aid must be administered immediately. Objects surrounding the victim are the most common causes of injury in seizure victims, so it is important to clear away hard objects like tables, chairs, lamps, and so on.

There is, unfortunately, little actual seizure first aid to administer while a seizure is taking place. Most of the seizure first aid takes place after the seizure has ceased. One should pay close attention to the length of the seizure and any conditions that may have led up to the seizure. This information will be useful when paramedics show up to take over the situation. Call for help as soon as the seizure begins to ensure emergency services will arrive quickly. While the seizure is taking place, do not place anything in the victim's mouth, especially fingers. The victim will not swallow his or her tongue, contrary to popular belief, and putting objects in the person's mouth only increases the risk of choking.


It is also not necessary to hold the victim in place. The primary goal of the witness during seizure first aid is to keep the victim from hurting himself by striking other objects, but holding the victim down increases the risk of injury to the first aid responder. Stay away from the victim and keep others away as well. Once the seizure has ended, try to keep the victim as comfortable as possible until emergency services arrive. Do not give food or drink to the victim until he or she is fully re-oriented and conscious.

After the seizure ends, the victim is still at risk for vomiting. Part of making the victim comfortable includes rolling him onto his side so the risk of choking is reduced should the victim begin vomiting. Cover the victim with a blanket if possible, and provide some neck and head support with a balled up jacket or similar item. When emergency services arrive, back away from the victim and allow the emergency personnel to do their jobs effectively.



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