Just asking a person with epilepsy what to do during and after a seizure will provide very useful information. People may find different things helpful, depending on what kind of seizure they had, how they feel, or where they are.

  • Ask if they want you to sit with them for a while. Talk calmly and reassure that they are safe.
  • Ask if they’d like a washcloth or tissue to wipe away any saliva that may have come out of their mouth during the seizure.
  • Some people may need to go to the bathroom after the seizure or need to change their clothes.  Help them find a bathroom or whatever they need.  
  • Help the person get to a safe place where they can recover or lie down for a while.    

Help them stay safe

  • Secure their belongings until they are back to their usual state. For example, if someone you are with has a seizure in public, hold onto their purse, bag, phone or whatever they are carrying until they have recovered. If you are helping someone you don’t know, secure their belongings until they come too or help is called and can take over.
  • If the person was traveling by public transportation or walking alone, can you go with them to their destination or call someone who can? Some people recover very quickly after a seizure. Others may be confused or sleepy for a while or not remember what happens. In the latter case, it’s not a good idea for someone to travel alone when they are vulnerable.

Get help if problems develop after the seizure

  • If someone complains of pain, fever or not feeling well a day or two after a major seizure, encourage them to call their doctor and get checked. Sometimes people develop injuries or other problems that don’t show up right away after a seizure.
  • If a serious problem arises or they can’t get ahold of their doctor, accompany them to an emergency room.

For more information on seizure first aid:

  • Print this downloadable guide 
  • View what to do – link to video by DJ Hapa and Chanda, and from talkabout it
  • Visit My Store for seizure first aid brochures and posters 

Based in part on Brainstorms Companion: Epilepsy in Our View, Living Safely with Epilepsy (113-129).

Authored by: Steven C. Schachter, MD | 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
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