What to Do When Someone Is Having a Seizure

Published on Sep 20, 2019

According to the World Health Organization, up to 1 in 10 people worldwide will have a seizure at some time in their life. If you saw someone having a seizure, would you try to put something in the person's mouth to stop them from swallowing his or her tongue? Would you hold them down to stop the muscle spasms? Read on to learn more about  the DOs and DON’Ts of helping someone who is having a seizure.

What to Do When Someone Is Having a Seizure

When should I call 911?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if ANY of the following is true, call 911 right away:

  • If you think it’s the person’s first seizure.
  • The person has trouble walking or breathing after the seizure.
  • The person has a seizure in water.
  • The person is hurt while having the seizure.
  • The person has another seizure soon after the first one is over.
  • The person has another health condition (for example, diabetes) or is pregnant.
  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.

“When a person who has had a seizure awakens, he or she may not know what happened at first. Stay with the person until he or she is no longer groggy or confused and have him or her contact a healthcare provider.”

Margaret Frazer, MD
Neurologist and Senior Director at Pfizer Inc.

Margaret Frazer, MD, is a neurologist and Senior Director of Medical Affairs at Pfizer Inc.

References

  • 1. World Health Organization. Epilepsy. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  • 2. Epilepsy Alliance Ohio. Myths About Epilepsy. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  • 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epilepsy. Spotlight on Seizures. Accessed June 12, 2019.
  • 4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seizure First Aid. Accessed May 22, 2019.
  • 5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get Seizure Smart! Accessed July 22, 2019.
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