Seizures do not
always require urgent care. But call 911 or other emergency services immediately if:
The person having a seizure stops breathing for
longer than 30 seconds. After calling 911
or other emergency services, begin rescue breathing. For more information, see the topic
Dealing With Emergencies.
The seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes. (The person may have
entered a life-threatening state of prolonged seizure called
More than one seizure occurs within 24 hours.
person having a seizure does not respond normally within 1 hour after the
seizure or has any of the following symptoms:
Reduced awareness and wakefulness or is not
Inability to walk or
A seizure occurs after the person complains of a
sudden, severe headache.
A seizure occurs with
signs of a stroke, such as trouble speaking or
understanding speech, loss of vision, and inability to move part or all of one
side of the body.
A seizure follows a head injury.
pregnant woman or a woman who has recently had a baby has a seizure. This could
be a sign of
preeclampsia (toxemia of pregnancy).
Symptoms of seizures vary widely, depending on the part of the brain affected by the electrical misfiring. If a very small part of the brain is affected, you might sense only an odd smell or taste. In other cases, you could have hallucinations or convulsions, or you could lose consciousness.
Generalized tonic-clonic. This type of seizure is sometimes preceded by an aura (awareness of a strange odor, taste, or vision). You might lose consciousness, fall, and experience muscle rigidity (stiffness)...
If you have been diagnosed with
epilepsy, call your doctor if:
Your seizures become more frequent or more
A serious illness seems to be changing the normal pattern,
frequency, length, or other features of your seizures.
pattern or features of your seizures change. For example, you have never lost
consciousness during a seizure before, but now you do. Or you have never
fallen down during a seizure, but now this is happening.
taking antiepileptic medicine and the side effects seem more severe than
expected. When you begin taking a medicine, talk to your doctor about what side
effects you can expect and what problems might mean that your medicine levels
are too high (drug toxicity). You may start having seizures more often if
your medicine levels are too low.
You are pregnant or thinking
about becoming pregnant.
Watchful waiting is appropriate if you have
already been diagnosed with
epilepsy and you have a seizure. But call your doctor
right away if you have a second seizure within a short period of time or if
your seizures have become more frequent or more severe. Your doctor may need to
change the amount of medicine you take or try a different medicine.
If you or your child has a
seizure for the first time, contact your or your
child's doctor to discuss the event and its potential cause. Your doctor may
refer you to a
neurologist. Your regular doctor may be able to
epilepsy treatment after your seizures are under
People with epilepsy who have trouble controlling
seizures and need special care, tests, or surgery can get help at epilepsy
centers. The staff at epilepsy centers include doctors and other health
professionals trained in treating people with this disorder.