Seizures can be frightening to witness but they are not usually a medical emergency. In most cases once the seizure stops, their breathing returns to normal and the person should make a swift recovery. 

This information is particularly relevant for tonic clonic seizures where the person shakes or jerks.

How to help if someone has a seizure

  • Stay with the person
  • Time the seizure
  • Only move them if they are in danger
  • Cushion their head if they are on the ground
  • Do not restrain the person
  • Do not put anything in the mouth
  • Loosen anything tight around the neck
  • Roll the person his/her side as the seizure subsides
  • After the seizure, talk to the person reassuringly

If in doubt always contact the emergency services for help and guidance

When to call an ambulance

  • If it's the first time the person has had a seizure
  • If the seizure last 5 minutes or longer (status epilepticus)
  • The person doesn't regain full consciousness
  • The person has several seizures without regaining consciousness
  • The person is seriously injured during the seizure

Types of epilepsy