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What Would You Do?
Do you know what to do if someone close to you has a seizure? Because about 1 out of 10 people will have a seizure, knowing what to do in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death.
A seizure is a short change in normal brain activity.
Seizures are the main sign of epilepsy. Some seizures can look like staring spells. Other seizures cause a person to fall, shake, and lose awareness of what’s going on around them.
Here are things you can do to help someone who is having this type of seizure:
- Ease the person to the floor.
- Turn the person gently onto one side. This will help the person breathe.
- Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. This can prevent injury.
- Put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
- Remove eyeglasses.
- Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make it hard to breathe.
- Time the seizure. Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
Not all seizures are emergencies. Keep track of how long the seizure lasts. Call 911 if a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or if the person gets injured during the seizure. But call for assistance if any of the following occur:
Call 911 if any of these things happen.
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- The person has another seizure soon after the first one.
- The person is hurt badly or suffers a head injury during the seizure.
- The person has a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or is pregnant.
There is also a First Aid app from the American Red Cross that gives advice for everyday emergencies, including seizure support right in your hand. The app is available for iPhone and Android devices, the official American Red Cross First Aid app is available here.
Content for this article provided by the American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.