Seizures in Water

For many people, the scariest aspect of epilepsy is not knowing when or where a seizure will occur. In certain situations, a loss of consciousness is especially dangerous and emergency care must go beyond the routine procedures. A seizure in water is one of these life-threatening situations.


Here are steps to follow if someone is having a seizure in water and they have a change or loss of consciousness:

  • Support the person in the water with the head tilted so the face and head stay above the surface
  • Call for help and remove the person from the water as quickly as possible.
  • Do not restrain the person unless this is needed to get the person out of the water safely. 
  • Check to see whether the person is breathing. If not, begin CPR immediately.
  • If breathing is normal, turn person on their side and hold them in side-lying position until they recover. 
  • Call an ambulance. Even if the person appears to be fully recovered, he or she should have a full medical checkup. Inhaling water can cause lung or heart damage.

If a seizure occurs in water but without any change in the person's awareness:

  • Call for help and remove the person from the water as quickly as possible. 
  • Help the person to a safe place out of the water.
  • Stay with them until the seizure is over. 

 

 

Reviewed by: Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN on 7/2016

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The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation is to lead the fight to overcome the challenges of living with epilepsy and to accelerate therapies to stop seizures, find cures, and save lives.

 
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