Moving to a safe space, avoiding any hazards, and notifying people nearby before a seizure starts may help keep someone safe during a seizure.
If people are about to have a seizure, they may experience some warning signs.
These may include a change in sensation or feeling, such as:
- experiencing odd smells, tastes, or sounds
- changes in vision
- feeling déja vu
- mood changes
- numbness, tingling, or pins and needles
- panic or feelings of intense fear
These symptoms may occur in the beginning phase of a seizure, known as the prodrome and aura stages.
People may experience warning signs of seizure hours or possibly days before a seizure occurs.
Not all people who have a seizure will experience these initial stages, though, and in some cases, people may have no warning signs that a seizure is about to occur.
This article looks at the steps people can take if they feel a seizure coming on.
If people feel they are about to have a seizure, they can take certain steps to protect themselves.
A person should:
- Move to a safe area, away from objects that may cause injury or any slippery surface.
- Move away from any steep drops or heights that people may fall from.
- Avoid climbing stairs or stay away from the top of stairs.
- Turn off any cooking equipment and move away from any open flames.
- If close to a road, move a safe distance away from the road and any moving vehicles.
- If driving, pull over into a safe space and stop the vehicle.
- If in a bath or shower, stop any running water and get out of the bath or shower to a place where people will not slip or fall.
- Move away from any bodies of water, such as swimming pools, lakes, or rivers.
- Stop using and move away from any dangerous machinery or tools.
In some cases, people may use rescue medications to stop a seizure. Rescue medications may help stop prolonged seizures or prevent seizure emergencies.
Benzodiazepines are the most common type of rescue medication for seizures.
If a person is awake and alert before the seizure starts, it may be safe to take lorazepam or diazepam orally if a doctor has prescribed it as a recommended plan of action.
In most cases, people will not need to use rescue medications, as seizure emergencies are rare, and daily seizure medication will usually control seizures effectively.
People can create a plan, called a seizure action plan, with a healthcare professional. This will detail the steps they and others can take to manage their seizures.
If those with photosensitive epilepsy have a sudden exposure to flashing lights, completely covering both eyes may help prevent a seizure.
Learn more about epilepsy medications and their side effects.
If people feel a seizure coming on, they can tell someone and, if possible, try to make sure someone remains with them.
It is important that a person with epilepsy notify their most trusted friends, family, teachers, and colleagues. Acquaintances can then learn how to recognize a seizure and what to do if one occurs.
People can work with doctors to create a seizure action plan, which details seizure first aid and how to respond.
People can keep a copy of the action plan with them at all times, as well as give copies to people who would be responsible for carrying out the plan if a seizure occurs.
If people feel a seizure coming on, they can ease themselves to the floor, so they are sitting or lying down
People should ensure they are in a comfortable space, with no hard or sharp objects around them.
If possible, place something soft, such as a pillow or folded jumper, underneath the head.
Taking these steps can help reduce the chance of injury if a person does have a seizure.
People should also remove any eyeglasses they are wearing. This can prevent injury.
It is a good idea for someone to keep any emergency medical information with them.
This can help others support them if they have a seizure in a public space.
People can carry medical information, such as a seizure action plan, in a wallet, purse, or phone case, so it is easy to access.
People may also want to wear a medical bracelet or pendant with emergency information.
Some people may have warning signs before a seizure occurs, which may include unusual changes in mood and sensations.
If people recognize these warning signs, they may be able to move into a safe place, take any precautions, and let people around them know.
To help stay safe with seizures, people can create a seizure action plan with a doctor, inform trusted family members and friends about seizure first aid, and carry medical information on them at all times.