First aid

How to deal with a seizure

How to deal with a seizure Also known as fits or convulsions

Seizures, also known as convulsions or fits consist of twitching of the arms and legs, often followed jerking arm and leg movements.

Seizures are usually caused by a distubance in electrical activity in the brain. This can lead to the person becoming unconscious, or cause them to loose control of their bladder or bowel.

The most common cause of seizures is epilepsy. Other causes include head injuries, alcohol poisoning and some brain diseases.

Signs of a seizure

  • Suddenly becoming unconscious
  • Rigid body
  • Rolling eyes
  • Fixed, staring expression on face

What you can do

  • If you can, try to ease the person's fall
  • Protect the person from injuring themselves by clearing the area around them
  • Remove any sharp ojects which are nearby
  • Place something soft, such as a pillow or rolled up jumper under their head
  • Stay with the person until the seizure stops
  • Time how long the seizure lasts

  • DO NOT put anything in the person's mouth while they are having the seizure

  • DO NOT give the person anything to eat or drink until the seizre has completely ended

When to call 999

Call for an ambulance if:

  • The seizure continues for more than five minutes
  • The person is unconscious for more than ten minutes
  • The person is having a seizure for the first time, or having repeated seizures
  • The person doeas not know of any reason why the seizure should have occurred

This article was published on Thu 27 May 2010

Image © Sebastian Kaulitzki -

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