Caring for someone who has had a seizure
If someone is having a seizure, follow this advice:
- protect them from injuring themselves by removing any sharp or unstable objects from the area
- place a cushioned object, such as a pillow or rolled up jumper, on either side of the person’s head to protect them from a head injury
- do not restrain them, allow the seizure to happen
- do not put anything in their mouth while they are having the seizure – there is no danger of them swallowing their tongue
- do not give them anything to eat or drink until they have completely stopped having the seizure
- stay with the person until they have stopped having the seizure.
Usually when a person has an epileptic seizure there is no need to call an ambulance.
However you should always dial triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance if any of the following apply:
- they have no history of seizures
- they have injured themselves badly
- they have trouble breathing after the seizure has stopped
- one seizure immediately follows another with no recovery in between
- the seizure lasts two minutes, or is longer than is usual for them
- any time there is no clear cause for the seizure (eg history of epilepsy).
Recovering from a seizure
Recovery is different for everyone and there is usually no need for further medical assessment unless the person is injured.
However, the following advice may help their recovery:
- someone should stay with the person for the next 24 hours in case they have another seizure
- the person should rest quietly for the rest of the day, sleeping if they want to, and should be checked on regularly
- they should stay at home unless they really need to leave the house - if they do go out, make sure they tell someone where they are going and when they plan to be back
- they should not drive or operate heavy machinery
- strenuous activities or sports should be avoided for the next 48 hours
- if they are in pain, find out about medicines they can take.
Some people with diagnosed medical conditions wear ‘Medic Alerts’ or special pieces of jewellery or identification that shows that they will need special medical care in an emergency.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your seizures treatment, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Last reviewed: July 2015