Blog, Epilepsy

Supporting Someone Living with Epilepsy


If you do not have epilepsy it might be hard to understand what it is like to live with it. Epilepsy is a neurological condition where a person has multiple seizures. According to the Center for Disease Control, “About 2.9 million people in the United States have active epilepsy.”

Epilepsy is not a one-type condition for every person. The way it appears and the way it is treated can vary, and sometimes the treatments do not work for some people. Some people are able to track their epilepsy and can avoid triggers, others do not know what causes theirs.

The best thing you can do to help someone is to learn more about epilepsy and what to do when someone has a seizure. There are helpful tips on the Epilepsy Foundation site about what you should and should not do when someone has a seizure.

The most important thing to know is to stay calm and call 911. The person having the seizure will be afraid and confused once they become alert. It is important to reassure them that they are alright and medical help is coming.

Do not leave a person alone when they are having a seizure. While most seizures only last for a few minutes and sometimes seconds, they can last for longer periods. A person can hurt themselves in a seizure and not be aware that they are doing it. Make sure they are in a comfortable position and away from dangerous objects or areas.
Try to track the duration of a seizure with a watch or phone, and how long it takes them to recover. This is important information for the doctor.

If it goes on longer than normal for that person you will need to call for help, and possibly give a prescribed rescue medicine to that person. If this is a stranger it would be best to wait until medical help arrives to administer any treatment. You can help them by checking for a medical bracelet.

Besides staying calm, it is important to not do things that will hurt more than help the person having a seizure.
It is not possible for someone to swallow and choke on their tongue, so do not put anything in their mouth. The jaw muscles can tight and break foreign objects, and that can cause a person to choke. Do not restrain anyone. This can confuse them and make them aggressive when more alert. Help them avoid anything dangerous and let them know in plain terms what happened once they begin to recover.

Overall, sensitivity is key. A person may feel embarrassed once they are alert, and so it’s important to be supportive and calm. Be confident in following these steps and you can help protect someone’s life.

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