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Epilepsy Health Center

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Seizures - Home Treatment

If you witness a seizure, your account of the seizure will help a doctor diagnose and treat the person. Try to stay calm. Pay close attention to what happens during and after the seizure.

  • During a seizure:
    • Protect the person from injury.
      • Keep him or her from falling if you can, or try to guide the person gently to the floor.
      • Try to move furniture or other objects that might injure the person during the seizure.
      • If the person is having a seizure and is on the ground when you arrive, try to position the person on his or her side so that fluid can leak out of the mouth. But be careful not to apply too much pressure to the body.
    • Do not force anything, including your fingers, into the person's mouth. Putting something in the person's mouth may cause injuries to him or her, such as chipped teeth or a fractured jaw. You could also get bitten.
    • Do not try to hold down or move the person. This can cause injury, such as a dislocated shoulder.
    • Pay close attention to what the person is doing so that you can describe the seizure to rescue personnel or doctors.
      • How the person's body moved
      • How long the seizure lasted
      • How the person acted before the seizure
      • How the person acted immediately after the seizure
      • Whether the person suffered any injuries from the seizure
  • After a seizure:
    • Check the person for injuries.
    • If you could not turn the person onto his or her side during the seizure, do so when the seizure ends and the person is more relaxed.
    • If the person is having trouble breathing, use your finger to gently clear his or her mouth of any vomit or saliva.
    • Loosen tight clothing around the person's neck and waist.
    • Provide a safe area where the person can rest.
    • Do not give anything to eat or drink until the person is fully awake and alert.
    • Stay with the person until he or she is awake and familiar with the surroundings. Most people will be sleepy or confused after a seizure.

A person who has had a seizure should not drive, swim, climb ladders, or operate machinery until he or she has seen a doctor about the seizure and the doctor has said that the person is allowed to drive or operate machinery.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • The pattern of your seizures changes and you have a history of epilepsy.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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