First Aid for Seizures

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

First aid for seizures facts

  • Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces chronic seizures.
  • Causes of epilepsy include brain diseases, illness, genetic disorders, or injury, but the cause of many seizure disorders is unknown.
  • Common symptoms of seizures include unconsciousness, muscle contractions and convulsions, clouded awareness, weakness, loss of sensation, strange sensation in the stomach, lip smacking, fidgeting, confusion, and sleepiness after the seizure.
  • There are many different types of seizures (e.g. grand mal, febrile), from a first aid point of view the underlying type of seizure or trigger has limited importance.
  • First aid for seizures is aimed at keeping the person safe until the seizure stops on its own. Stay calm, loosen anything around the person's neck, do not restrain them or put anything in their mouth, clear the area around them, and stay with them after the seizure stops.
  • Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, the person has another seizure, does not wake up, or has another medical condition.
  • Some seizures can be prevented by taking prescribed seizure medication regularly, checking for drug interactions, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding seizure triggers.

What is the definition of an epileptic seizure?

Epilepsy, or seizure disorder, is a medical condition that produces seizures. A seizure usually involves convulsions and sometimes leads to loss of consciousness.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/4/2015
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