Here’s what to do to help someone having a seizure

Keep these first aid tips in mind

When someone nearby is having a seizure, here’s how to offer first aid and when to call 911.

  • Stay calm and be reassuring.
  • Move the person to a safe place and clear the area of hard or sharp objects.
  • Ease the person to the ground.
  • Turn the person onto one side.
  • Protect the head by supporting it with something soft; keep the face uncovered.
  • Loosen any restrictive items (tie, collar, necklace, etc.).
  • Do not put anything in the person’s mouth (spoon, tongue depressor, etc.); the person cannot swallow his or her tongue.
  • Do not hold the person down or try to stop their movements; you may hurt them, or they may hurt you.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure stops.
  • If the person is very upset or violent, stay back.
  • Do not try to give the person water or anything by mouth until he or she is alert and able to swallow without choking.
  • Use a watch to time the seizure as soon as you see one begin.
  • If needed, allow the person to rest while someone observes them for more seizures; stay nearby until they are alert.

Call 911 or immediately go to the emergency room:

  • If a seizure lasts 5 minutes or longer
  • When seizures occur back to back without returning to normal in between
  • When injury occurs (head trauma, suspected broken bone, etc.)
  • If the person does not start breathing normally once the seizure stops
  • If the person is pregnant
  • If the person has diabetes or a serious heart condition
  • If you are concerned something else could be wrong
  • If the person is more confused or upset than usual after a seizure (especially if he or she becomes violent)

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