Epilepsy First Aid

Tonic Clonic

Convulsions, generalized tonic-clonic (also called “grand mal”)

Most seizures in people with epilepsy are not medical emergencies. They end after a minute or two without harm. They usually do not require a trip to the emergency room. But sometimes there are good reasons to call for emergency help. A seizure in someone who does not have epilepsy could be a sign of serious illness. Other reasons to call an ambulance include:

  • A seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes
  • No “epilepsy” or “seizure disorder” ID
  • Slow recovery, a second seizure, or difficulty breathing afterwards
  • Pregnancy or other medical diagnosis
  • Any signs of sickness and injury

First Aid technique:

1. Cushion head, remove glasses

2. Turn on side
3. Don’t put anything in mouth
4. Loosen tight clothing
5. Time the seizure with a watch
6. Look for ID
7. Don’t hold down
8. As seizure ends …
9. … offer help

Complex Partial

(psychomotor, temporal lobe) People who have had this type of seizure should be fully conscious and aware before being left on their own. Make sure they know the date, where they are, where they are going next. Confusion may last longer than the seizure itself and may be hazardous. If full awareness does not return, call for medical assistance. 

1. Recognize common symptoms 

Blank staring
Fumbling
Shaking
Chewing
Wandering
Confused speech

2. Follow first aid steps

Don’t grab hold
Block hazards
Track time; remain nearby …
Explain to others
Speak calmly
… until the seizure ends