- First Aid for Seizures Center
- Epilepsy Slideshow
- Brain Disorders Image Collection
- Take the Epilepsy (Seizure Disorder) Quiz
- Patient Comments: First Aid for Seizures - Experience
- Patient Comments: First Aid for Seizures - Causes
- Find a local Doctor in your town
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.
What causes an epileptic seizure?
Seizures occur due to a malfunction of the brain's electrical system. Some seizures are caused by brain diseases, tumors, genetic conditions, or other illnesses or disorders that can be diagnosed (symptomatic seizures). When the cause for the seizures is unknown, they are referred to as idiopathic or cryptogenic seizures.
Seizure causes are also sub-classified into acute (an active cause, such as an active brain disease) or remote (caused by a previous event, such as injury).
What are the symptoms of an epileptic seizure?
Generalized seizure symptoms include unconsciousness, muscle contractions and convulsions (which may appear as very dramatic jerking movements), tongue or lip biting, incontinence, and clouded awareness. There may be weakness or loss of sensation. These symptoms may be brief or last a longer period of time.
Some seizures only cause minor or mild symptoms and can be localized to a specific area of the body. These are called partial seizures. Symptoms of a partial seizure may include an aura (a warning symptom, often a strange sensation in the stomach), lip smacking, fidgeting, lack of awareness of surroundings, confusion, and sleepiness after the seizure. These symptoms typically last 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
What first aid should be done for an epileptic seizure?
First aid for a seizure is aimed at keeping the person safe until the seizure stops on its own. Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Stay calm and reassure bystanders.
- Loosen anything around the person's neck (clothing, ties, jewelry, etc.) that may impede breathing.
- Do not restrain the person – this may result in injury.
- Do not put anything into the person's mouth, and do not try to hold the tongue or force the mouth open. This may also cause injury.
- Clear the area around the person and remove any objects that could injure them (glasses, furniture, etc.).
- Put something flat and soft under their head.
- After the seizure, lay the person on their side to facilitate breathing and keep the airway open.
- Do not leave a person alone after a seizure – they may be disoriented or confused.
- If the person is known to have epilepsy it may not be necessary to call 911. However, call 911 if:
- the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes,
- another seizure begins soon after the first one ends,
- the person does not awaken after movements have stopped,
- the person has another medical condition (such as heart disease),
- or you think anything else might be wrong.
What can be done to prevent an epileptic seizure?
There may be some ways to prevent seizures in some people. Sometimes, there is no way to prevent seizures and a person may have a seizure even if they follow all of the doctor's recommendations.
- Anticonvulsant medication helps manage seizures in many patients. Take all prescribed medication regularly. Do not stop taking medications or change the dose without consulting a doctor.
- Avoid alcohol as it may interact with anticonvulsant medication, making it less effective.
- Consult a doctor before taking any other medications, including over-the-counter drugs, or supplements as there may be drug interactions.
Latest Neurology News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
"First Aid." Epilepsy Foundation.
Schachter, Steven C., M.D. "Overview of the management of epilepsy in adults." UpToDate. Updated Mar. 9, 2016.
Top First Aid for Seizures Related Articles
Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Librium (chlordiazepoxide)Ativan (lorazepam) and Librium (chlordiazepoxide) are benzodiazepines used to manage anxiety disorders, before anesthesia for sedation, and to prevent and treat alcohol withdrawal. Ativan is used for the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depression, to treat panic attacks, short-term and long-term treatment of insomnia, in combination with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy, and for treating seizures (status epilepticus). Librium a long-acting benzodiazepine used to manage anxiety disorders, and provide short-term relief of anxiety symptoms, withdrawal of acute alcoholism, and for preoperative apprehension and anxiety.
Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Versed (midazolam)Ativan (lorazepam) and Versed (midazolam) are benzodiazepines used for sedation before surgical procedures and to treat insomnia. Ativan is also used to manage anxiety disorders, to prevent nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy, for treating seizures, and for prevention and treatment of alcohol withdrawal. Versed is used in children before a procedure or anesthesia to cause drowsiness, decrease anxiety, and cause forgetfulness of the surgery or procedure. Versed may also be used short-term for sleep problems.
First AidFirst aid is a complicated subject and it is situation-specific. First aid is defined as the help and medical assistance someone a sick or injured person. Preparedness is key to first aid, like having basic medical emergency kits in your
- boat, or
- puncture wounds,
- strains, and
- heart attacks,
- seizures, and
- heat stroke
First Aid: Bandaging Injuries and Wounds From Head to ToeBandaging a wound like a burn, cut, or scrape requires different techniques depending on which part of the body was hurt. Ace bandages, liquid bandages, bandage wraps, waterproof bandages, elastic bandages, and other types are available to cover and protect your wound from dirt and water.
First Aid: Wound Care for Cuts and ScrapesWound care treatment at home involves performing cuts and scrapes first aid including cleaning the injury and applying antibiotic ointment and a bandage. Use wound care products like adhesive bandages, hypoallergenic bandages, sprays, tape, and gauze. If cuts and scrapes don’t heal, see your doctor.
First Aid EssentialsAre you always prepared for a first aid crisis? See which basic first aid items to pack to treat minor scrapes, cuts, and stings when you're on the go.
First Aid Quiz: Care for Wounds, Scrapes, Cuts, and BurnsWound care for cuts and scrapes includes treatment to clean and bandage the injury. Should you use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, ointment, or butter on a wound? Should you pull a bandage off fast or air out a wound? Take this quiz to test your medical knowledge.
Hydroxyzine vs. ValiumHydroxyzine (Vistaril) is an antihistamine with sedative and anticholinergic (drying) properties used to treat allergies, anxiety, and alcohol withdrawal. Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and seizures.
Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Buspar (buspirone)Klonopin (clonazepam) and Buspar (buspirone) are used to provide short-term relief of symptoms in the treatment of anxiety. Buspirone is especially effective in persons with limited to moderate generalized anxiety, while clonazepam is primarily used to treat panic disorder. Learn about the side effects, recommended dosage of each drug and the main differences between these two different types of anxiety medications.
Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Valium (diazepam)Klonopin (clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are benzodiazepines used in the treatment of anxiety and certain types of seizures. Klonopin is also used to treat panic disorder, while Valium is also used to treat hallucinations resulting from alcohol withdrawal and for sedation during surgery. Learn about the side effects, recommended dosage and main differences between these two drugs.
Lyrica (pregabalin) vs. Topamax (topiramate)
Lyrica (pregabalin) and Topamax (topiramate) are anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) used to prevent epileptic seizures. Lyrica is also used to treat neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia, and fibromyalgia. Topamax is also used to prevent migraine headaches.
Seizure (Epilepsy)Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the person has seizures. There are two kinds of seizures, focal and generalized. There are many causes of epilepsy. Treatment of epilepsy (seizures) depends upon the cause and type of seizures experienced.
Seizures Symptoms and TypesSeizures are divided into two categories: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures are produced by electrical impulses from throughout the brain, while partial seizures are produced by electrical impulses in a small part of the brain. Seizure symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity.
Valium (diazepam) vs. midazolamDiazepam (Valium) and midazolam are benzodiazepines used for sedation during surgery and to treat seizures. Diazepam is also used to treat anxiety, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and for relief of muscle spasms in some neurological diseases.
What Happens During A Video EEG Test?A video EEG (electroencephalograph) monitoring is a diagnostic procedure using EEG and video recordings simultaneously in order to monitor seizure activity. A video EEG monitoring is usually performed in a hospital. The duration of the video EEG monitoring depends on the frequency of the seizures.
What Is a Video EEG Test?Video EEG (electroencephalogram) monitoring is a specialized kind of real-time brain imaging used for diagnosing the cause of seizures. The patient is continuously monitored on a video while an EEG unit records their brain activity.