Seizures (Epilepsy): Signs, Symptoms, Causes, First Aid
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First Aid Tips for Helping Someone Having a Seizure

Everyone should know what to do if they notice someone having a seizure. First aid when given at the right time can go to great lengths at helping someone having seizures. They vary from person to person. There is also a difference in how people are affected and how they recover following seizures. Seizures are of different kinds. How you can best assist someone having a seizure depends on the type of seizure and how it affects them.

image for seizure first aid

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Seizures?

Signs and symptoms of a seizure can range from minor to severe and vary based on the type of seizure. Seizure symptoms and indicators may include:

  • Momentary confusion
  • Staring at a point for longer than usual
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the body
  • Loss of awareness or consciousness
  • Emotional or cognitive symptoms such as anxiety, fear, or a sense of déjà vu.
  • dizziness or faintness
  • uncontrollable bowel movement
  • breathing difficulties
  • unconsciousness or unresponsiveness
  • arching of the back
  • clenching of teeth
  • sudden and rapid eye movements

If a patient becomes unconscious or unresponsive, start CPR and dial 911. Always stay prepared by learning the right CPR techniques from the American CPR Care Association. Below are the five reasons why you must choose our up-to-date online CPR course:

  • It’s nationally accredited.
  • It’s accepted by 98% employers.
  • You will receive 2.0 – 6.0 CE Credit Hours after completion of the course
  • It adheres to the 2020 ECC Guidelines as well as the National Emergency Response Organization Standards.
  • OSHA-certified instructors.

Causes of Seizures 

Seizures can be triggered or caused by:

  • High fever caused by meningitis.
  • Inadequate sleep.
  • Flashing/bright lights, moving patterns, or other visual stimuli.
  • Hyponatremia (low blood sodium) as a side-effect of diuretic medication.
  • Medications that reduce the seizure threshold. For example, some pain medications, antidepressants, or smoking cessation therapy.
  • Head trauma that results in internal bleeding in the brain.
  • Blood vessel abnormalities in the brain.
  • Brain tumor.
  • Stroke.
  • Using illegal or recreational drugs such as amphetamines or cocaine.
  • Misuse of alcohol during withdrawal or acute intoxication.

What are First Aid tips for Seizures?

There are different kinds of seizures. Most seizures last only a few minutes. If you know someone who suffers from seizures, you must know how to help someone having a seizure. What to do to assist someone experiencing any form of seizure? Below are the general seizure first aid steps:

  • Stay with the person having a seizure until it’s over. Wait till they are fully awake. 
  • When the seizure is over, help the person in finding a safe spot to sit. 
  • Tell them what happened once they are awake when they are ready to talk.
  • Soothe the individual and speak softly.
  • Examine the person to check if he or she is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
  • Maintain your calm and help others to keep calm as well.
  • Offer to call for a taxi or any other person the victim prefers. 
  • Ensure the individual arrives home safely.
  • Seizures do not generally require immediate medical intervention. 
  • Dial 911 only if one or more of the following conditions are met:
    • The person is experiencing the occurrence of a seizure for the first time ever.
    • After the seizure is over, the victim has trouble breathing or waking up.
    • The seizure occurs for 5 minutes or more.
    • The person suffers from another seizure soon after the previous one.
    • The person gets injured during the seizure.
    • The seizure occurs in water.
    • The individual is pregnant or has a medical problem, such as diabetes or heart disease.

What if someone has epilepsy?

You may be able to help a person with epilepsy if you are aware of their seizures. Here are some of the questions to help you understand:

  • What kind of seizures do they experience, and what happens when they have them? 
  • What is the average duration of their seizures?
  • How frequently do they suffer seizures? 
  • Are there any triggers for their seizures, such as stress or exhaustion?
  • Is there a history of status epilepticus in their family? 
  • Is it true that they require emergency medication?
  • How long do they take to recover from a seizure? 
  • Do they take anti-epileptic medications? When do they normally pick them up?
  • Do they have a medical ID card or jewelry that tells people how to help them if they suffer a seizure?


Handling a person suffering from seizures can be challenging. A seizure can’t be controlled or stopped. As a bystander or caregiver, you must always be prepared to help someone having a seizure. American CPR Care Association provides comprehensive and simple-to-learn online CPR lessons for everyone, including professional rescuers. These classes are open to anyone with the necessary learning capacity. Get in touch with us today!


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