First Aid for Epilepsy Patients

First aid for epilepsy is quite simple:

  • Keep the person safe until the seizure stops naturally and full awareness returns.
  • First Aid for Convulsive Seizures
  • During a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, the person suddenly falls to the ground and has a convulsive seizure. It is essential to protect him or her from injury.

DO:

  • Keep calm.
  • Look at a clock: Time the seizure.
  • Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp.
  • Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult.
  • Put something flat and soft, like a folded jacket, under the head. Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally.
  • After the seizure, place the person on their side. This will help keep the airway clear.
  • Be reassuring and use a calm voice as consciousness returns.


DO NOT:

  • Do not hold the person down or try to stop their movements.
  • Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. A person having a seizure CANNOT swallow their tongue. Efforts to hold the tongue down can injure teeth, jaw, or your own fingers.
  • Do not attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped.

First Aid for Partial and Non-Convulsive Seizures

You don’t have to do anything if a person has brief periods of staring or shaking of the limbs. If someone has the kind of seizure that produces a dazed state and automatic behavior, the best thing to do is:

  • Speak quietly and calmly in a friendly way.
  • Guide the person gently away from any danger, such as a steep flight of steps, a busy highway, or a hot stove. Don’t grab hold, however, unless some immediate danger threatens. People having this kind of seizure are on "automatic pilot" as far as their movements are concerned. Instinct may make them struggle or lash out at the person who is trying to hold them.
  • Stay with the person until full consciousness returns, and offer help as needed.
  • Responding to Confusion
  • Confusion may occur during a complex partial seizure or during the recovery period after other types of seizures.


In either case, the same basic rules apply:

Remove anything from the area that might cause injury or could be a hazard to someone who is temporarily unaware of their surroundings.

Do not try to restrain an older person who is wandering and confused during a complex partial seizure. If danger threatens, guide gently away.

A person may be quite agitated during these episodes. Trying to restrain, or grab hold, is likely to make the agitation worse and may trigger an aggressive response.

Be reassuring, comforting and calm as awareness returns. If confusion persists, seek medical attention.