Epileptic seizures can strike at any time and sometimes without warning. First aiders can benefit from being able to recognise what a seizure looks like, and then to implement a simple treatment protocol when one happens.

Recognition


Minor seizures could involve disorientation, absence, staring blankly ahead and strange noises. Here we focus on major / generalised seizures which are considered an emergency. Look out for any of  the following symptoms:
  • Sudden collapse
  • Convulsions (shaking of the body)
  • Stiffening of the limbs and body
  • Eyes rolling back
  • Fluid / foam coming out of the mouth

Treatment

When a seizure happens keep calm and stop others panicking around you. The main priority is to protect the casualty from further harm; therefore the treatment protocol is kept relatively simple. Use this four step plan when a seizure strikes:
  1. Clear any dangers / bystanders away from the casualty 
  2. Pad the area around the casualty with soft objects eg jumpers, coats and blankets
  3. Allow the seizure to safely take place 
  4. When the seizure stops check airway, breathing and consider the use of the recovery position
It may be useful to fetch a first aid kit as there is likely to be blood around the mouth

When to Call 999


Many seizures occur safely, with the above treatment protocol, and without the need for the emergency services. However always call 999 / 112 in any of the below situations:
  • If it is the first seizure or if you are unsure
  • If the seizure goes over the localised time (see care plan)
  • If multiple seizures occur
Always call the emergency services if you have any uncertainty about any of the above