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 on 9/2013
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 3/2014