Partial Seizures: Know What to Do

Because seizures may happen at any time, it helps to be prepared. This is true even if medicine usually keeps your seizures under control. Start by telling those you live and work with about your health condition. Make sure they know what to do if a seizure happens.

Mature woman talking to group of young women.

Steps for your protection

Most partial seizures last from a few seconds to a few minutes. During that time, those around you should help keep you safe. What those witnessing the seizure should do is listed below.

What to do

Seek medical attention right away if you:

  • Are hurt during the seizure

  • Begin choking

  • Have a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes

  • Have multiple seizures in a row

  • Don't fully regain consciousness after the seizure is over

Otherwise, they should do the following:

  • Move any hard or sharp objects away from you.

  • Turn you on your left side if you seem unconscious.

  • Talk to you afterward to relieve your confusion.

  • Note how long the seizure lasted. Note what you were doing before, during, and after the seizure.

What NOT to do

It is important that they don't do the following:

  • Don't try to stop any jerking or twisting.

  • Don't put anything in the mouth.

  • Don't try to hold the tongue.

Prepare family, friends, and coworkers

It may seem awkward to talk to others about seizures. But telling family, friends, and coworkers about your seizures can help them react to a seizure in a way that will help—and not hurt—you. Describe to them what happens before, during, and after you have a seizure. Explain what they should and should not do.