Epilepsy and Seizures

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about epilepsy and seizures.

What are things someone can do when they are near someone having seizure?

One in every 10 people has had a seizure, which makes seizures a common condition that you might one day witness in person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

Knowing what to do if someone near you has a seizure is important so you can help care for them and get them the help they need. The CDC says you should take the following steps if you see someone having a seizure:

During the seizure:

  • Check for a medical bracelet or other emergency information
  • Ease the person to the floor
  • Gently turn the person onto one side to help them breathe
  • Keep yourself and other people around you calm
  • Loosen or remove anything from around the person’s neck, including ties, necklaces, or a tightly buttoned shirt, to help them breathe
  • Put a soft, flat object – such as a folded coat or towel – under the person’s head
  • Remove any sharp or hard things from around the person to prevent injury
  • Take the person’s glasses off

After the seizure:

  • Comfort the person and speak calmly to them
  • Help the person to a safe place
  • If you are not at the person’s home, call for transportation to get them home safely
  • Make sure the person is fully awake
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends
  • Talk to the person to explain in simple terms what happened

When to call 911:

  • If a seizure lasts longer than five minutes
  • Several seizures happen in a row
  • If you are in doubt or the person’s condition

If the person has an established cause of seizures (like epilepsy) and the seizure is very typical, there is no need to call 911.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about what to do if someone around you has a seizure.

Learn more:

Source: Barbara Phillips, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute; Arshi Naz, MD, Clinical Neuroscience Institute