"What three words do you need to remember if you witness someone having a seizure?"
This is the question we’ve been asking the Irish public as part of our activities for International Epilepsy Day 2023. While our general knowledge might include knowing that Everest is the highest mountain in the world; that Harry Styles used to be in One Direction; and that Brie and Camembert are types of cheese, unfortunately, seizure first aid is not part of most people's general knowledge.
We need this to change, and we need your help to do it!
There are over 45,000 people living with epilepsy in Ireland. Seizure first aid and the key words of Time, Safe, Stay is vital information to know and we want YOU to make it part of your general knowledge today!
So, what does Time, Safe, Stay actually mean?
The first thing you should do is TIME the seizure. This is because if a seizure goes over 5 minutes, an ambulance should be called.
Keep the person SAFE during the seizure. If a person is having a convulsive seizure, cushion their head with something soft if possible and remove any harmful objects, e.g., furniture from their vicinity. NEVER put anything in a person's mouth or restrain them during a seizure.
Be aware that there are also types of seizures where the person does not experience convulsions. Instead, they may “zone out” or stare blankly, become confused or agitated, display behaviours like chewing, smacking their lips, fiddling with their clothes, or wandering aimlessly. In this type of seizure, the person’s awareness of their surroundings is affected, and it is important to gently guide the person away from any danger. As with convulsive seizures, never restrict the person’s movements.
During the seizure and after it passes, STAY with the person. Often after a seizure, a person with epilepsy will be confused and, in many cases, exhausted. Place them in the recovery position and make sure to stay with them until recovery is complete, explain what has happened and gently reassure them. The person may have experienced an injury if they have fallen, and if this is the case, ensure normal first aid steps are taken.
It really is as simple as TIME, SAFE, STAY – so please make it part of your general knowledge today!
Are there any other times to call an ambulance?
Aside from calling an ambulance if a seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, below some other times an ambulance should be called:
- Call an ambulance if a person having a seizure briefly comes out of it and goes into another one.
- Call an ambulance if you know it’s a person’s first seizure or if you’re not sure whether the person has epilepsy or not (often a person with epilepsy will have a bracelet or card in their wallet/purse indicating they have epilepsy.)
- Call an ambulance if the person is physically injured e.g. if they have taken a heavy fall during their seizure.
- Call an ambulance if the person is pregnant as a precautionary measure in case any checks need to be carried out.
- Call an ambulance if you’re in any doubt – this is the most important point of all. No–one is going to be annoyed at you for calling an ambulance out of real concern; not the person who’s having the seizure and not the ambulance crew.
While you’re here….
Epilepsy is unfortunately a condition which still has many myths and misconceptions still attached to it despite it affecting 1:100 people in Ireland. In the lead up to this year’s International Epilepsy Day, we’ve been sharing stories from people across Ireland about their lives with the condition. Take a moment to read their stories in order to learn more about the real experiences that people can have living with epilepsy. We have listed the stories we have shared below:
- Read Alina's story on our website
- Read Ava's story on our website
- Read Ciara's story on our website
- Read Ciara's story on our website
- Read Claire & Jane's story on our website
- Read Colm's story on our website
- Read Grace's story on our website
- Read Jack's story on our website
- Read Liam's story on our website
- Read Rachel's story on our website
You can also find more detailed information about epilepsy by visiting the ‘Epilepsy Information’ section of our website.
Is there any way I can help make seizure first aid and Time, Safe, Stay general knowledge?
Sharing is caring! If you’ve seen any of our social media posts/heard our ads/seen our print campaign, copy the link to this page and let friends and family know that you’ve made Time, Safe, Stay part of your general knowledge!