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How to Help Someone Having A Seizure

After witnessing someone have a seizure and not knowing what to do, I got a educated. Let’s talk about how to help someone having a seizure.

How to Help Someone Having A Seizure

How to Help Someone Having A Seizure

Let’s discuss a scary situation that occured in my group fitness class yesterday.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

I arrived at my normal thursday afternoon Zumba class and I took a position near the front. Usually I am a front row diva, but today all the spots were taken. We began following the instructor (who is also a mentor to me in the game) and during the fourth song I saw her facial expression change. She is usually super smiley and focused so when I saw her looking in the mirror towards the back of the room with concern I knew something was up.

By the time I looked around there was a woman lying on the floor shaking uncontrollably.

I didn’t know it right away but she was having a seizure.

Immediately two women ran over to her and put her on her side, she was still shaking uncontrollably and her eyes were closed.

I heard a lot of yelling but I couldn’t comprehend any of it. That’s when I ran to the music system and cut it off so we could get directions.

By that time someone had run upstairs to get help and almost all of us were trying to call 911 but because we were in the basement we had shotty service.

Finally, management came down and let us know that the paramedics were on their way. Since we were all standing around her helplessly they told us to go.


The seizure was timed by the nurse and it was around 4 and a half minutes. It took even longer before she could tell us her name and what day it was. She had no clue what happened.

Scariest part? This had never happened to her before. She has no history of seizures.

Seeing this happen made me super aware of how easily this could happen in my class, in any class, or even to someone sitting next to me on the train.

Having those skilled women in my class gave me a great first hand lesson on how to take proper care of a person having a seizure.

I did some research and found this graphic on how to handle a person who is having a seizure. If you don’t know it already burn it into your brain until you do. You never know when you will need this information and it’s better to be prepared than sorry.


This is also a really great reminder to make sure your in case of emergency contacts are listed in your phone by indicating (ICE) next to designated contacts. It’s really super important to be CPR certified as well.

Tips For How To Help Someone Having Seizure

Witnessing someone have a seizure can be distressing, but knowing how to respond appropriately can be crucial for the person’s safety. Here are some general guidelines to follow if you see someone having a seizure:

  1. Stay Calm: Your composed demeanor can help others around you remain calm as well.
  2. Prevent Injury: Gently guide the person to the floor if they are not already there. Clear the area of sharp or hard objects to prevent injury.
  3. Do Not Restrain: Never try to hold the person down or restrain their movements.
  4. Turn the Person Onto Their Side: If the person is convulsing and there is no risk of neck/spine injury, turn them gently onto one side. This helps fluids (like saliva) drain away from the mouth and reduces the risk of inhalation.
  5. Place Something Soft Under the Head: This can help prevent head injury. However, ensure that whatever you use (like a folded jacket) doesn’t pose a suffocation risk.
  6. Loosen Tight Clothing: Especially around the person’s neck. This might include ties, scarves, or buttoned-up collars.
  7. Do Not Put Anything in the Person’s Mouth: Contrary to a popular myth, people having a seizure cannot swallow their tongue. Inserting an object can cause injury to their teeth, gums, or even break the object in their mouth.
  8. Time the Seizure: Check the time when the seizure starts. If it lasts for longer than 5 minutes or if a second seizure starts right after the first, you should call emergency services immediately.
  9. Stay With the Person: Be reassuring as they regain consciousness, as they might be confused or disoriented for several minutes after the seizure ends.
  10. Don’t Offer Water or Food: Right after a seizure, there’s a risk of choking, so refrain from offering anything until you’re sure the person is fully alert.
  11. Seek Medical Attention: Always seek immediate medical attention if:
  • The person has never had a seizure before.
  • The person is pregnant.
  • The seizure happened in water (e.g., while swimming).
  • The person has diabetes.
  • The person does not resume their usual state after the seizure ends.
  • Another seizure starts immediately after the first one concludes.
  1. Stay Informed: If the person has a medical ID or any information about their medical conditions, read it to better understand how to assist.
  2. Educate Others: Once the situation is under control, if you’re in a public space, educate others around you about seizures, as there is still much stigma and misunderstanding about the condition.

Remember, each person with epilepsy may have unique needs or instructions for care during and after a seizure, so it’s important to ask and be informed if you’re regularly around someone with the condition. If you frequently spend time with someone who has seizures, consider discussing an action plan with them in advance.

Have you ever known someone with/witnessed a seizure? Do you know how to handle it?

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[…] For anything: A few months ago, I was a participant in a Zumba class when a woman behind me collapsed into a seizure. Thank goodness we had medical personnel in class with us to assist. If they hadn’t been […]

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[…] For anything: A few months ago, I was a participant in a Zumba class when a woman behind me collapsed into a seizure. Thank goodness we had medical personnel in class with us to assist. If they hadn’t been […]


Wednesday 11th of September 2013

How scary! So glad that the women in the class had experience, and knew what to do. Thank you for posting this, you can never tell when this will come in handy.


Thursday 12th of September 2013

Yes, it was super intense. I am very thankful that we had experienced personnel on hand!


Monday 9th of September 2013

Awesome post Nellie. Seizures can be very scary. I pinned it to hopefully spread the word. People have a tendency to try to restrain someone during a seizure. Great reminder of what to and not to do. I've been around a couple of people at different times having a seizure. It's amazing that once you know what to an emergency it all comes back. Unfortunately you can't do anything to stop the seizure, but you can make sure the person is alright during and after.

Way to go with cutting the music too. It seemed lots of people sprung into action... as I'm sure it was very scary for the person undergoing the seizure.


Thursday 12th of September 2013

Right, exactly. I think most folks are trying to stop the seizure when really you just need it to work itself out.


Monday 9th of September 2013

GREAT advice. Seisures can be scary. Most people never remember them.


Thursday 12th of September 2013

thats right! she had no idea what happened to her.