"What should I do if I have a seizure? What should I do if I see someone else have a seizure?"

These are the two most common questions for people living with epilepsy. Nothing is more difficult than feeling helpless when a seizure occurs. This section will help you be prepared to respond to seizures safely and appropriately.


Think of 3 key areas of seizure first aid.

  • Care and Comfort First Aid:  General first aid for all seizure types to keep someone safe.
  • Tailoring First AidSpecific steps for different seizure types. 
  • Responding to Seizures - Interventions for out of hospital use: First aid steps to help stop or shorten a seizure or prevent an emergency situation. This may involve giving a rescue treatment (often called "as needed" medicine or treatment) that has been recommended by your health care team. The rescue treatments described here can be given by non-medical people who are not in a hospital setting. They are intended for use by anyone (the person with seizures, family member or other observer) who has been trained in their use. These therapies can be given anywhere in the community. A hospital or medical setting is not needed when these are given in the manner described. 

Use this section to learn what to do and how to give seizure first aid to someone having a seizure. Then develop a Seizure Response Plan which will help others follow these same steps. 

Reading what to do is not the same as learning how to do it. Make sure you practice seizure first aid by developing 'seizure drills' for you and your family.  It is critical that you and anyone who may be with you during a seizure know what to do and how to give these treatments correctly and safely.



Authored by: Steven C. Schachter MD | Patricia O. Shafer RN | MN
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven MD on 2/2014
Get the App!
First Aide App

Help is as close as your phone!

Download the free "Seizure First Aide" app at efmn.org/app for assistance with recognizing different types of seizures, knowing what to do, and timing how long the seizure lasts. Our thanks to the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota for developing this exciting new tool!

#DareTo Be Seizure Smart

VA Video on Seizure First Aid

The VA Epilepsy Centers of Excellence (ECoE) video series, “Veterans and Epilepsy: Basic Training” addresses the fear and misunderstanding of epilepsy and educates veterans, their caregivers, and the general public about living with epilepsy. This fifth video in the series focuses on seizure first aid. Find more about services and support for veterans.

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