First aid for seizures

Seizures can happen quickly and usually last a few minutes. Once a seizure starts, there isn’t much you can do to stop it. But, there are things you can do to protect the person from harm until their seizure stops.

If someone is having a seizure, you should:

  • Call 911 and check to see if the person has a medical alert bracelet.

  • Ease them to the floor, if possible.

  • Give them room. Keep other people back.

  • Clear hard or sharp objects, like glasses and furniture, away from the person.

  • Cushion their head, if possible.

  • Loosen clothing around their neck if you can safely do so.

  • If you can remember, time when the seizure starts and when it ends.

  • After the movements stop, gently place the person on their side if you can or turn their head to the side.

  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends or until medical help arrives.

  • Once the seizure stops, speak calmly, reassure the person and explain to them what happened.

  • Do not try to hold the person down or stop their movements.

  • Do not put anything in their mouth – you could damage their teeth, or they may bite you. You can’t swallow your tongue during a seizure.

If you have seizures or care for someone who does, talk with your doctor. There may be medication you can take for your condition.

Sources: American Epilepsy Society,,