Seizures and Epilepsy
FIRST AID FACT SHEET
First aid for seizures and epilepsy
A seizure is a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain.
Seizures may vary from muscle jerks through to severe and prolonged convulsions. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which triggers recurrent and unprovoked seizures.
Not all seizures are epilepsy, but all require first aid.
What to do
During a seizure
- Follow DRSABCD St John Action Plan and follow the casualty’s seizure management plan, if there is one in place.
- DO NOT
- Restrain the casualty or restrict movement.
- Put anything in the casualty’s mouth.
- Move the casualty, unless in danger.
- Protect casualty from environment: move furniture, cushion head and shoulders.
- Ensure the airway is maintained.
- Follow the casualty’s Seizure Management Plan if in place.
- Record the duration of the seizure.
After a seizure
- Place casualty into Recovery Position if unconscious and breathing normally, ensure that the airway is clear and open.
- Manage any injuries. Rest and reassure.
- Seek medical aid.
- DO NOT disturb if casualty falls asleep, but continue to monitor breathing and response.
Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance if:
- First ever seizure.
- The seizure continues for more than five (5) minutes or another seizure quickly follows.
- The casualty has been injured, is a diabetic or is pregnant.
- If the seizure occurs in water
- Head injury or high fever.
- Brain tumour or stroke.
- Poisoning or drug overdose.
- Serious infection or lack of oxygen.
Signs and symptoms
- Sudden spasm of muscles producing stiffness or rhythmic jerking movements. If standing, the casualty will fall which may result in injury.
- Suddenly cry out.
- Shallow breathing or breathing may temporarily stop, leading to pale, blue-tinged lips and face.
- Excessive saliva (frothing) from the mouth.
- Changes in conscious state from being fully alert to confused, drowsy or loss of consciousness.