A neurologist’s advice on what to do if someone has a seizure

If you encounter someone having a seizure, follow the ACTION steps

What to Do When Someone Has a Seizure

If you encounter someone having a seizure, follow the ACTION steps:

Assess — Assess the situation. Ensure that they are not in danger of hurting themselves. Take away any items in the area that could cause injury.

Cushion — Cushion their head with something soft to prevent harm.

Time — Be alert of the time. If convulsing lasts longer than five minutes they need an ambulance to take them to the hospital

Identity — Search for medical identification that provides information about their seizures. An ID card may contain instructions on how to respond.

Over — When jerking motions have concluded, lay the person on their side. Accompany them until they regain consciousness.

Never — Never restrain a seizing person. Do not attempt to give them something to eat or drink, or put anything in their mouth.

You’ve come across someone having a seizure. You’re instinct is to help, but what do you do?

Some of the scariest seizures are tonic-clonic. These affect both sides of the brain and typically cause stiffness, loss of consciousness, falls and uncontrolled shaking. The person may appear to be blue around the mouth from having trouble breathing.

“While these seizures may be alarming, most are self-limited and will last shorter than a minute,“ said William F. Dotson II, M.D., neurologist and epilepsy specialist with Norton Neuroscience Institute.

Norton Neuroscience Institute

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center — the highest rating available.

To make an appointment, call:

(502) 629-1234

There are certain instances when the help of medical professionals is required. You should call 911 if any of the following criteria apply:

  • This is someone’s first seizure.
  • The seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
  • Person suffers consecutive seizures without regaining consciousness between outbreaks.
  • They are injured.
  • They appear to require immediate medical attention.
  • The person has a health condition such as diabetes or heart disease, or is pregnant.

Read more from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention about seizures: CDC.gov/Epilepsy.


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