When should I call an ambulance?

An ambulance is only needed if a person has a life-threatening seizure or problems after a seizure. Examples of when to call an ambulance include:

  • A seizure lasts 5 minutes or longer.
  • One seizure occurs right after another without the person regaining consciousness or coming to between seizures.
  • Seizures occur closer together than usual for that person.
  • Breathing becomes difficult or the person appears to be choking.
  • The seizure occurs in water.
  • Injury may have occurred.
  • The person asks for medical help.

Remember, you don’t need to call an ambulance for every seizure. Most seizures end on their own within a few minutes.

For more information on seizure first aid:

Authored By: 
Steven C. Schachter
Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN
Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Authored Date: 
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven, MD
Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN
Reviewed Date: 
Wednesday, March 19, 2014