Epilepsy and Seizures – First Aid

On average, 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy every day and it affects 600,000 people in the UK. That’s about 1 in every 103 people.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition and can affect anyone, at any age.
A seizure can consist of involuntary contractions of the many muscles in the body due to a disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain.


How do I know if someone’s having a seizure?

Possible signs include:

  • Sudden unconsciousness.
  • The person may become rigid, arching their back.
  • Their breathing may become difficult and their lips may look a grey-blue colour.
  • The person may have convulsive movements. Their jaw might be clenched and their breathing may be noisy.
  • Saliva may appear at their mouth. It may be blood stained if the tongue or lips have been bitten.
  • There may be loss of bladder and/or bowel control.
  • Usually within a few minutes their muscles relax, they recover consciousness and their breathing returns to normal.
  • After the seizure, the person may feel tired and fall into a deep sleep.

How do I help someone having a seizure?

  • Assess the situation.
  • Note the time the seizure started.
  • Protect the person. Make space around them and remove any potentially dangerous items.
  • If possible, place soft padding such as a rolled up towel or spare clothing under their head.
  • Once the convulsive movements have stopped, open their airway and check for breathing.
  • If they are breathing, place them in the recovery position and monitor their vital signs until they recover.
  • Note the duration of the seizure.


  • DO NOT move the person unless they are in immediate danger.
  • DO NOT attempt to restrain the person.
  • DO NOT put anything in the person’s mouth.

Should I call 999/112 for someone having a seizure?

  • Call 999 or 112 if this is the person’s first seizure.
  • Call 999 or 112 if the person has more than one seizure, one after the other.
  • Call 999 or 112 if the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes.
  • Call 999 or 112 if the person is unconscious for more than 10 minutes.

Learn more about epilepsy and seizures here:




This isn’t a substitute for first aid training. If you’d like to be able to deal with a variety of first aid issues with confidence, book a first aid course in Newcastle, the North East or wherever you need us! Get in touch for more information.