A significant cause of seizures is epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder that causes repeated seizures, during which victims may or may not lose consciousness. The most common cause of seizures in the adult patient is irregular use of prescribed anti-seizure medication. Other causes of seizures can occur as a result of a brain injury, drug or alcohol abuse, infection, or febrile (high fever seizure) especially in the case of young children.

Seizures are generally not life-threatening. Your assistance is needed to protect the patient from self-inflicted injury as a result of the violent convulsions. The seizure will start and stop on its own, you cannot change its course.

Care for Epileptic Type Seizures

  • Have someone immediately call 911.
  • Stay calm. If the patient is conscious, offer reassurance. Reassure and calm others who are with the patient and explain what is happening.
  • Stay with the patient until the seizure ends or the paramedics arrive.
  • Help the patient to the floor to prevent them from falling. Remove all objects that are near the patient. This will help to prevent accidental injury during the seizure. Do not move or restrain the patient unless a dangerous object is nearby (stairs or hot object).
  • Never try to force anything between the patient's clenched teeth. Doing so may break their teeth, or force the tongue back to occlude the airway or cause injury to the patient or you.
  • Remove or loosen any tight clothing and remove any eyeglasses.
  • Turn the patient on the side (preferably the left side) and extend the head. Their head should be slightly downward so that secretions and vomit can drain quickly out of the mouth preventing them from choking. Continue until the paramedics arrive.
Care for Febrile (High Fever) Type Seizures
  • Have someone immediately call 911.
  • Stay calm. Infant febrile seizures are frightening but are generally not life-threatening.
  • Protect the patient in the same manner as you would for an adult patient.
  • Remove all clothing to allow the patient's body to cool. Move the patient to a cool area. Blot the skin with a cool washcloth or towel. Do not submerse the patient in cold water. Continue until the paramedics arrive.