First Aid

Most seizures in people with epilepsy are not medical emergencies. Generally speaking, a seizure must run its course. It ends after a couple of minutes without any harm. However, there are certain guidelines for seizure first aid.

Generalized Tonic-Clonic

Stay Calm
Time the seizure
Cushion head
Turn on the side
Look for Seizure Disorder I.D.
DO NOT put anything in mouth
DO NOT restrain

Complex Partial

  • Speak calmly and reassuringly
  • Guide away from dangerous objects/areas
  • DO NOT restrain
  • Stay with person until completely aware

When to call 911

  • Transfer to the hospital is needed when:
  • Seizure lasts for more than five minutes
  • Multiple seizures or status epilepticus
  • Person is pregnant, injured, or diabetic
  • Person has been swimming
  • If it is a person’s first seizure
  • If a person does not wake up after seizure ends


Four basic treatments for epilepsy are seizure medication, vagus nerve stimulation, surgery, and a ketogenic diet. The goal of the treatment is to be seizure free. Drug therapy is the most common treatment. Epilepsy Foundation states that as many as 85% of people with epilepsy remain seizure-free under drug treatment. In cases where the drugs do not control seizures, alternative treatments are available.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

VNS is automatic stimulation of left vagus nerve in the neck. A pacemaker-like device is implanted into the chest wall and a wire runs from it to the vagus nerve. The VNS is programmed by a neurologist to deliver the best possible seizure control.


A small percentage of people with uncontrollable seizures are eligible for brain surgery that is designed to remove abnormal tissue in the brain. The seizures must only affect a single part of the brain that could be surgically removed.

Ketogenic Diet

This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is designed to create metabolic changes in a person’s body.


Proper child development (i.e. avoid shaking a baby)
Prevention of head injuries (i.e. wearing a helmet and seatbelts)
Avoidance of specific triggers (i.e. alcohol/drugs; getting enough sleep; taking medication on time)

The Florida Epilepsy Alliance

Works with thousands of clients in 29 Florida counties to:

  • Navigate their diagnosis
  • Sponsor medical services
  • Access prescription assistance
  • Connect with community resources
  • Advocate for epilepsy programs and resources
  • Educate communities
  • Promote prevention
  • Provide hope and support