Helping Someone Who Is Having a Seizure

It’s important for those close to someone with epilepsy to know what to do if the person has a seizure. It’s also important for the person who has epilepsy to talk clearly with others in advance about what to do in the case of a seizure. Many people have mistaken ideas about how to help. For example, some think they should put something in the person’s mouth to protect the tongue from being bitten. This is not necessary – it can actually harm the person having a seizure.


  • Stay CALM and REASSURE other people who may be nearby.
  • ROLL the person on his or her side to prevent choking on fluids or vomit.
  • CUSHION the person’s head.
  • REMOVE eyeglasses and LOOSEN any tight clothing around the neck e.g. tie, tight collar etc.
  • PREVENT the person from injuring himself or herself. REMOVE any sharp or solid objects that the person might hit during the seizure. PLACE him / her in a safe place away from glass, machinery, staircase, stones etc.
  • NOTE how long the seizure lasts and what symptoms occurred, so you can tell a doctor or emergency personnel if necessary. 
  • STAY with the person until the seizure ends.
  • LOOK for a patient ID and contact the doctor only when the above is done.
  • Some medicines can be used in an emergency. GIVE them only if you have clear instructions for their use from the doctor.
  • TAKE the patient to the nearest hospital, if the seizure lasts more than 2 – 5 minutes or if the patient injures herself or himself.
  • BE friendly and reassuring as the person returns to consciousness.
  • OFFER to call a taxi, friend or relative to help the person get home if he seems confused or unable to get home without help.


  • DO NOT HOLD the person down or RESTRICT his or her movements.
  • DO NOT CROWD around the person.
  • DO NOT OFFER the person water or any other liquid until fully alert. 

Do NOT PUT spoon, cloth or anything in the person’s mouth.