What first-aid should be given during a seizure?

How long does a seizure last? What is “Status Epilepticus”?

Almost all seizures end in about 1 minute.

Rarely, seizures may go on for a much longer period of time. If a seizure goes on for more than 5 minutes, the patient is said to be in a condition called “Status Epilepticus”Status Epilepticus is a medical emergency – the patient needs to be given rescue medications to stop the seizure immediately. Such a patient needs to be rushed to the nearest hospital immediately.

When many seizures happen one after the other in rapid succession, then again the person is said to be in Status Epilepticus. This again is a medical emergency.

Although any epilepsy patient may get Status Epilepticus, it is uncommon and unlikely to happen if you have not had prolonged seizures before. As mentioned in the first line of this answer, almost all (>90%) of seizures end in about 1 minute or less.

What are the 2 most common reasons for harm during a seizure?

Most seizures do not result in permanent bodily harm.

There are two main reasons for bodily harm during a seizure. These are worth highlighting:

Two reasons for bodily harm during a seizure
1. Trauma due to hitting body parts
2. Aspiration / Choking

The entire concept of first-aid during a seizure is to prevent these two things.

What can I do to prevent aspiration?

When a foreign body goes into the wind-pipe or lungs, it is called aspiration. If the foreign body is large enough (e.g. a stick or coin) it may block the wind-pipe leading to choking. If it is a liquid – such as the person’s own vomit – then it may go into the lungs and produce an infection of the lungs (pneumonia).

In summary: Aspiration is to be prevented at all costs.

Thus, for preventing aspiration:

  • Do NOT put anything into the mouth of the patient while he/she is having a seizure.
  • Do NOT put your hand in the patient’s mouth – your fingers could be cut off.
  • Turn him/her to one side, so that any vomit flows out from the mouth.
  • After you are absolutely sure that the seizure has ended completely, you can remove any large food objects in the mouth.
  • Do NOT give the patient any food or water until the seizure ends completely and he/she is completely conscious.

What can I do to prevent injuries during a seizure?

If the patient has frequent seizures, then some preparation to avoid injuries is justified.

  • Try to avoid furniture with glass or very hard metal corners which can result in injury.
  • Consider carpeted floors or wood floors instead of stone floors.
  • In children who have multiple daily seizures with drop-attacks, consider using a plastic helmet at all times to prevent head injury.

As soon as you see a seizure happening:

  • Try to prevent the patient from falling and hitting the ground hard.
  • If possible, ease him/her to the ground.
  • Remove all surrounding hard furniture.

Should I video-tape the seizure on my smartphone?

The eyes can only see what the mind already knows, and additionally, human memory is fallible.

Especially if there are two people around it makes perfect sense to record the seizure in it’s entirety, from beginning to end.

While recording, make sure that the entire body is visible. Do not change the camera angle excessively and do not end the video recording before the seizure ends. In fact, even after the seizure ends talk to the patient – ask him/her his/her name, what happened, and ask him/her to name a few things around the house and finally to hold up both arms.

A good video recording can provide completely invaluable information to your treating physician. If you bring 2-3 (or even more!) such video recordings to your doctor, the nature of your seizures becomes crytal clear. This helps tremendouly in choosing medications and if required, considering surgery.

This is a lot of information! How do I remember this in an emergency?

Don’t worry: Click on the image below to download it. Print it and put it up in your home.



Epilepsy A4 English

Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor's permission.
Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar has been recognized as one of the best neurologists in Mumbai by Outlook India magazine and India today Magazine. He is a board certified (American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology certified) Neurologist.

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar is a Epilepsy specialist in Mumbai & Parkinson's specialist in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

He has trained in the best institutions in India, US and UK including KEM hospital in Mumbai, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), USA & Kings College in London.

Call 022-4897-1800

Send Message

NeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar IconNeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar

near LIC, Dr Balabhai Nanavati hospital, near LIC, SV Road, LIC Colony, Vile Parle

4.7 58 reviews

  • Avatar JAIKUMAR MANI ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    My experience with Dr Siddharth Kharkar was really awesome. It’s always great to be in the presence of someone who is a renowned expert in his field & … More it brings peace of mind that the advice will obviously be the correct one. In addition, his ability to convey complex workings of the human brain in such simple terms that a layman like me could easily understand was something I really appreciated. I heartily Thank Dr Kharkar for his astute advice & gladly recommend him to anyone who needs a neurologist.
  • Avatar Rohit shetye ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Best Dr. we have ever meet. Dr. Listened to us patiently and gave us the proper solution. No unnecessary test or didn’t frighten us. Thank you so much … More Dr.
  • Avatar Ashish Patil ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Great doctor!! Really appreciate.The doctor diagnosed me correctly and start treatment that will help me a lots to improve my condition. The doctor is … More really good, calm and his nature is down to earth, gives confidence to patient!!! Thank you!!!
  • Avatar Bianca D'silva ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    We had been looking for a specialist in parkinsons for a while now, for my father and when we found Dr. Siddharth Kharka's details on Google, we were … More partly relieved. Partly because, we were all very anxious not knowing how would our visit turn out. I appreciate Dr. Kharkar and his team. He was very clear in his explanations, his knowledge about parkinsons. He took the time to answer the questions we had, went over the diagnosis and started necessary treatment immediately. The only drawback we experienced was the waiting time. Overall, we left the clinic satisfied, knowing much more than when we walked in. We would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a specialist.
  • Avatar Neelam Satghare ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    I have visited the doctor clinic for the first timeBut he gave good advice and helped me overcomeMy doubts and queries. It was a good experience.I am very … More thankful for cooperation.
  • Avatar Nitin Ghotge ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    Dr.Sidharth Kharkar is one of the best neurologist i came across ....He is really genuine and focused .....We really satisfied after consultancy...
  • Avatar Krishna kumari Radhakrishnan ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Hi Sharing my experience with Dr KharkarI had consulted with dr regarding my husband’sProblems of tremors. Dr immediately diagnosed on video consultation … More and could help him to control the tremors s of Parkinson’s disease.I found him genuinely polite and free to talk n patiently listening to the patients problem.Now my husband regained his balance n tremors controlled. Many many thanks to Dr Kharkar
  • Avatar a kumar ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    Dr kharkar is very nice doctor, sir explained each and every thing very nicely, and i am thankful for Dr kharkar for his treatment .
  • Avatar Nidhi Sonawane ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    I had a positive experience with the doctor. He was very sympathetic. His communication skills were good and listened with patience.
  • Avatar Ujwala Sawant ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    Because of Dr.kharkar sir my husband got new life. Tnx sir.
  • Avatar Mythili Balasubramanian ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    Consultation with the doctor was a very satisfying experience. Was empathetic in his approach, and responded positively to all the queries we had. Thank … More you doctor!
  • Avatar Govind Patel ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Doctor explained very Good nice person give length time to check body
  • Avatar Sharmila Kumawat ★★★★★ 9 months ago
    Dr Siddharth is one of the best Dr I have ever met. He is kind, polite, helpful and very selfless person. I have migraine and I am his patient since more … More than 2 years. The staff is always helpful and Dr Siddharth is just beyond words for me. Thank you for ur selfless service and kindness u give to all ur patients.

Leave a Comment

India Today Magazine - 2021Noted as one of the Best Neurologists in Mumbai