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New research reveals concerning knowledge gap regarding Seizure First Aid

Last Updated:
Peter Murphy and quote The findings show that there is still a significant and concerning knowledge gap in the community

86% of the Irish public believe that knowing seizure first aid is important – but just 28% say they would know how to respond to a seizure.

This is according to new market research conducted by Ámarach Research on behalf of Epilepsy Ireland, which surveyed 1,000 members of the Irish public in April on their awareness of, and attitudes to, epilepsy.

In light of these findings, Epilepsy Ireland is urging the public to learn more about epilepsy first aid during National Epilepsy Week, which runs from May 20th to 26th. Epilepsy Ireland CEO, Peter Murphy said:

The findings show that there is still a significant and concerning knowledge gap in the community, especially considering the estimated 45,000 individuals living with epilepsy in Ireland.

Over 55% of respondents said that they have witnessed a seizure, and 50% know someone who lives with the condition, so knowing what to do is knowledge that is likely to be very useful in coming to someone’s assistance in future.

We encourage everyone to dedicate just five minutes of their time during the week to learn more about seizure first aid and the key words "Time, Safe, Stay" which is critical information everyone should know and which could potentially save someone’s life.

Epilepsy Ireland has been monitoring public understanding of the condition since 2013, and in that time has put in place several campaigns and projects aimed at raising awareness of epilepsy, one of the biggest priorities for people living with the condition with Peter explaining: 

We’ve seen a lot of positive changes over the past decade. Today, people are far less likely to take inappropriate steps such as restraining the person or putting something in their mouth during a seizure, and more likely to know when to call an ambulance and how to use the recovery position.

We’re also seeing improvements in general understanding of the condition. More people are aware of the different types of seizures that can occur, and that not everyone with epilepsy needs to avoid flashing or flickering lights, for example. There is also a greater recognition that there can be a social stigma attached to epilepsy.

However, as the latest data suggests, there is still a lot of work to be done. It is particularly concerning that compared to a decade ago, fewer people today are familiar with the positive steps that should be taken, such as cushioning the person’s head during a convulsive seizure, staying with them until the seizure ends and removing potentially hazardous objects from the area.

Finding the resources needed to tackle these gaps fully is always going to be a challenge, but Epilepsy Ireland remains committed to raising epilepsy awareness and providing education on seizure first aid. Over 90% of survey respondents agreed that seizure first aid should be taught in schools, and this is something we look forward to progressing in the years ahead.

National Epilepsy Week runs from May 20th to 26th. To find out more about epilepsy and seizure first aid, or to read lived experiences of people living with the condition, visit or connect with Epilepsy Ireland on social media.

Further Information 

  • The research conducted by Ámarach Research on behalf of Epilepsy Ireland has been proudly supported by Desitin Pharma and has provided our team with important public insights to help shape our ongoing awareness and public education activities.
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  • To learn more about seizure first aid and download our new posters, visit the 'News' section of our website
  • To read some of the personal stories we have been sharing across #EpilepsyWeek, visit the 'Advocacy' section of our website.