first aid procedures

Everyone should know how to respond correctly when someone has a seizure. Your skills will make a difference when you are able to respond appropriately. If you have epilepsy, make sure the people around you know how to help you if you have a seizure. This provides peace of mind for yourself as well as for others.

Complex Partial Seizures

The person is staring blankly, is dazed, unresponsive and can move or walk around without knowing what they are doing. Consciousness is altered. The seizure usually lasts 1-3 minutes

What should you do?

  • Approach in a calm and quiet manner. Sudden, loud noises may frighten the person and cause him or her to bolt
  • Stay with the person, do not let him or her wander into harm’s way
  • If required, gently guide the person away from danger or block access to hazards
  • Do not restrain the person
  • Let the seizure take its course
  • Afterwards, the person will need time to regain full awareness
  • Stay with the person and be reassuring

Convulsive Seizure

The person loses consciousness, body stiffens, muscles begin to jerk and breathing may become shallow. The seizure usually lasts 1-3 minutes.

What should you do?

  • Stay calm, time the seizure and let the seizure run its course
  • Protect the person from injury by moving hard or sharp objects out of the way. Place something soft under the head
  • Do not restrain the person and DO NOT put anything in the person’s mouth – they will not swallow their tongue
  • Gently roll the person on to their side as the seizure subsides to allow saliva to drain away and keep airways clear
  • Afterwards the person may need to rest. Stay with the person until they become re-oriented

When to call the ambulance

Note: Absence, Atonic, Simple Partial, Myoclonic and Infantile Spasms do not require first aid – unless over 5 minutes in duration. A follow-up evaluation with your health care providers or at the health unit is advisable

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