Epilepsy is the underlying tendency of the brain to produce seizures; sudden abnormal bursts of electrical energy that disrupt brain function. Any person at any age can have a seizure and be diagnosed with epilepsy.
Each year, 150,000 more people are diagnosed with epilepsy. Over a lifetime, 1 in 10 people will have a seizure, and 1 in 26 will develop epilepsy.
Yet the idea of a seizure is unsettling to most people, and millions have no idea what to do in the event of a seizure. By knowing seizure first aid, you can help people with epilepsy feel safer in their communities.
Stay, Safe, Side
There are three simple steps to remember if you witness a seizure: STAY, SAFE, SIDE.
- STAY with the person and start timing the seizure. Remain calm and check for a medical ID.
- Keep the person SAFE and move away harmful objects.
- Turn them on their SIDE. Don’t block their airway. Put something small and soft under their head. Loosen tight clothes around their neck.
- Never put anything in their mouth. Don’t give water, pills, or food until the person is awake.
- Do not restrain them.
- Stay with them until they are awake and alert after the seizure. Most seizures end in a few minutes.
- Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes; the person has difficulty breathing, is injured, or is pregnant; it’s their first seizure; the seizure occurs in water; seizures continue; or the person does not recover.
Most people know someone who has epilepsy, so it is time to educate ourselves and advocate for the people we know and those we don’t yet know who live with seizures. For more information, visit Epilepsy.com/firstaid.