Please note that this information does not qualify you as an official first aider, and Virtual College advise calling 999 in the first instance at the scene of an emergency.
This material and any associated assessments do not constitute a qualification or accreditation as an official first aider. All content provided is for general information only.
Virtual College advocate dialling the emergency services before attempting any form of first aid.
Seizures can be one of the most visually concerning medical situations that a first aider might come across, but they can in fact range from being severe to fairly mild. In this article, we’re going to look at how you can recognise a seizure happening, what you should do to help the person, and when you should call for an ambulance.
You may find our course on the Primary Survey a useful addition to the information in this article. Click here to find out more about this course, and how it can help you and other employees in the workplace approach first aid situations in the proper way.
There is more than one type of seizure to be aware of. A tonic-clonic, or convulsive seizure (previously known as a grand mal seizure) is the most commonly encountered and recognised, and will involve a period of muscle contractions and stiffness, followed by shaking or convulsions. There are however numerous other potential symptoms, which can include loss of consciousness, confusion, auditory and visual hallucinations and more.
It helps to be able to understand all of the potential symptoms and types of seizure to be able to recognise one occurring. To find out more about epileptic seizures and what causes them, along with the different types of seizure that you might encounter, then please read our article on the subject here.
There are several things that you can do, and several things you shouldn’t do, in order to make the situation as safe as possible for the person experiencing the seizure. First aid for seizures generally means making the situation safe rather than directly treating the person. Actions include the following
If a person is having a focal seizure, whereby they do not lose consciousness or suffer from full-body convulsions or muscle relaxation, then your primary aim is to guide them away from any danger. Try and keep them aware of what’s going on, as confusion is very common.
There are some additional steps you should take once the seizure has subsided to help the person recover. They include the following:
While seizures can be commonplace for certain medical conditions, there are many situations in which it is appropriate to call for emergency medical help. They include the following
For information about all of the Health and Safety courses that Virtual College offers, please visit our dedicated health and safety courses section, which explains how we can help you and your fellow employees deal with medical situations in the workplace.