Seizures: The dos and don'ts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:00am

What should we do when we witness a seizure?

Note the time

Remain with the person having the seizure, to protect and reassure them

Keep other people from crowding around

If a major generalised tonic-clonic seizure occurs, when there is stiffening, jerking and loss of consciousness, put the person on their side in the semi-prone position to aid breathing as soon as the convulsions start subsiding

Cushion the head with something soft

Remove all dangerous objects

If breathing continues to be difficult, check that saliva, vomit and dentures are not blocking the throat

As consciousness returns, offer reassurance and note how long the seizure lasted

Do not:

Restrain or try to stop the convulsions as this may cause injury

Try to move the person unnecessarily

Put anything in the person's mouth

Give the person medication as this will not help

Give the person anything to eat or drink immediately after the seizure as he or she may feel sick or be unable to swallow properly

Call ambulance or medical help if:

The seizure lasts for more than five minutes - earlier if you are unsure about the medical history and if this is possibly a first seizure

If the person is diabetic, pregnant or injured

If the person remains unconscious, get IMMEDIATE medical assistance