When to call an ambulance
Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance if:
- it's the first time someone has had a seizure
- the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes
- the person doesn't regain full consciousness, or has several seizures without regaining consciousness
- the person is seriously injured during the seizure
People with epilepsy don't always need to go to hospital every time they have a seizure.
Some people with epilepsy wear a special bracelet or carry a card to let medical professionals and anyone witnessing a seizure know they have epilepsy.
Make a note of any useful information
If you see someone having a seizure, you may notice things that could be useful for the person or their doctor to know:
- What were they doing before the seizure?
- Did the person mention any unusual sensations, such as an odd smell or taste?
- Did you notice any mood change, such as excitement, anxiety or anger?
- What brought your attention to the seizure? Was it a noise, such as the person falling over, or body movements, such as their eyes rolling or head turning?
- Did the seizure occur without warning?
- Was there any loss of consciousness or altered awareness?
- Did the person's colour change? For example, did they become pale, flushed or blue? If so, where – the face, lips or hands?
- Did any parts of their body stiffen, jerk or twitch? If so, which parts were affected?
- Did the person's breathing change?
- Did they perform any actions, such as mumble, wander about or fumble with clothing?
- How long did the seizure last?
- Did the person lose control of their bladder or bowels?
- Did they bite their tongue?
- How were they after the seizure?
- Did they need to sleep? If so, for how long?
You can watch videos of people talking about having epileptic seizures on HealthTalk.org.