By Lisa Marinelli Smith
Witnessing a seizure is unnerving whether you’re a bystander, friend or family member of someone having a seizure — especially if the person has never experienced one.
Epileptic seizures can look and act differently, depending on the type of seizure. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures are what people typically picture when they envision a seizure. This type of seizure used to be called grand mal seizures, and during them a person can experience convulsions, lose consciousness, cry out and fall to the ground.
Other types of epileptic seizures aren’t as intense. People may stare into space, blink rapidly or make repetitive, involuntary movements like smacking or rubbing hands together. During some seizures, people may be awake and aware. Other times, people can lose consciousness.
Fortunately, in most cases, epileptic seizures don’t require emergency medical attention, but you can help the person stay safe by taking some simple steps.
What to do if someone has a seizure
Here’s how to help someone experiencing a seizure:
What not to do if someone is having a seizure
Some actions aren’t helpful and can even be harmful when someone is having a seizure.
Please do not:
Should I call 911 if someone is having a seizure?
Because seizures are alarming and look frightening, many people assume they should call for emergency help.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, call 911 if:
If you’d like to learn more about first aid for someone with epilepsy, The Epilepsy Foundation offers seizure first aid certification.
For more information on seizure first aid, please visit:
Service dogs are becoming more prevalent as we learn more about the positive impact that assistive animals can have on people with disabilities. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a service animal is a working animal that is “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability”, which includes epilepsy.