Seeing someone having a seizure can be disturbing and frightening and most people are unaware of what to do. If you witness someone having a seizure, do the following:
- Do not restrain the person.
- Do not try to put anything in the person’s mouth. A person having a seizure may bite his or her tongue, but this is not life-threatening.
- Try to restrain a fall so that the person does not hit something as he or she collapses. Often, the person knows he or she is about to have a seizure. If you are able to, ask them to sit on the floor or help them sit down, before a fall.
- Leave the person lying flat on a safe surface. Do not put anything under the person’s head. If possible, turn the person on their side, propping them in that position with cushions at the back during the seizure. This way, saliva or blood from a bitten tongue will be able to flow freely out of the mouth.
- In case of loss of bladder or bowel control, if possible loosely cover the person with a blanket to protect his or her privacy.
- Do not panic. Loosen any tight clothing to make the person more comfortable. Stay with the person until the seizure has stopped. They may be confused and tired immediately after the seizure.
- Seek medical assistance. With a baby or child, medical help should be sought immediately.
Seizures may occur for no apparent reason or may be triggered by a wide range of things, including exposure to an allergen; drug or alcohol withdrawal; fever; flashing lights; hunger; hypoglycemia; infection; lack of sleep; metabolic or nutritional imbalances; or trauma especially head injury.