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Stay Calm, Be Aware

Tonic-Clonic Seizures

  • Stay calm.
  • Loosen tight clothing especially around the neck.
  • Protect them from injury by moving any injury causing objects away from the area and placing something soft under their head. Time the seizure.
  • Gently roll the person on one side, clean the mouth with a tissue or cloth, tilt their chin upwards to assist breathing and protect airway.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally and comforting the person until regains consciousness.
  • Reassure the person.
  • Keep onlookers away, as waking up to a crowd can be embarrassing or confusing for the person.
Do not:
  • Restrain the person’s movements or move them during the seizure unless they are in danger.
  • Put anything in the person’s mouth.
  • Give the person water, food or pills unless fully alert.
  • Give medicines following a seizure. They must be given as per schedule.
Rush to the hospital if:
  • The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or a second seizure quickly follows without regaining consciousness.
  • The person is severely injured or has swallowed water.
  • The person is pregnant.


Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures

Generally, this type of seizure does not require first aid because the person maintains full awareness.
  • Assist the person to stop any activity they are doing.
  • Assist to sit down.
If the seizure progresses into a focal impaired awareness seizure or a convulsive seizure then assist as described above


Seizures in Water

People with epilepsy should not be around any water source unattended. A seizure in water (bath, water tank, pool, river, sea) is a life-threatening emergency and the person should be rushed to the hospital as may have inhaled water and be at significant risk.
  • Support the person’s head so that their face and head stays above the water surface.
  • Tilt the person’s head back to ensure a clear airway. Remove the person from the water as soon as the active movements of the seizure have ceased.
  • Remove the person from water and roll the person onto one side as soon as possible and tilt the chin upwards to assist breathing and protect the airway.
Even if the person appears to be fully recovered, they still require medical assessment as inhaling water can cause lung or heart damage.