Seizure First Aid

How to take care of someone if you see them having a seizure.


  • Ease the person onto the floor.

  • Lay the person on their side (it helps the person to breathe)

  • Put something soft and flat under their head, like a jacket to keep from hitting their head on the ground.

  • Take of any jewelry or things around the neck that may restrict breathing.

  • Time the seizure.


  • PUT ANYTHING IN THE PERSON’S MOUTH. A person cannot swallow their tongue during a seizure. Putting something like a wallet in a person’s mouth during a seizure will block their airway.

  • Try to hold a person down or stop their movements.

  • Attempt to give CPR or similar breaths.

  • Offer the person any food or water immediately after a seizure.

Do I call 911?

In general, it is not necessary to call 9-1-1 for a person who has a history of epilepsy, unless:

  • The person has trouble waking up/breathing

  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes

  • The person immediately has another seizure

  • The person is hurt during the seizure (For example, falls and hits their head during the seizure)

If a person does NOT have a history of seizures, it is appropriate to call 9-1-1.

After a seizure:

If the person is not otherwise injured, the most important thing you can do as first aid is to make sure the person is safe and calm. After a seizure, help the person sit up and very simply explain to them what happened. It’s not uncommon for a person to be confused for a few minutes after a seizure. Make sure they get in a cab and get home safely.