First Aid Certificate Training and Courses



Seizures occur due to uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical convulsion, minor physical signs, thought disturbances, or a combination of symptoms. The type of symptoms and seizures depend on where the abnormal electrical activity takes place in the brain, what its cause is, and such factors as the person’s age and general state of health. In half of patients who experience seizures, no cause can be found.

Absence Seizure

An absence seizure is known as a petit mal. The person stops suddenly and stares into the distance for up to 30 seconds. This type of seizure mainly occurs in children and is often mistaken for daydreaming or lack of concentration. No treatment is required except for reassurance.

Simple Partial Seizure

A partial (focal) seizure happens when unusual electrical activity affects a small area of the brain. This type of seizure does not affect awareness.

Seizures can be caused by any condition affecting the brain, for example:

Head injury.



Brain tumors.

Lack of oxygen (hypoxia).

Some poisons or drugs.

Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs.

High temperature (febrile convulsion) in children under five years old.

Major Seizure

Tonic Phase – sudden spasm of muscles producing rigidity and the casualty falling down.

Clonic Phase – jerking movements of the head, arms and legs may occur.

Blue/purple skin colour and blue lips.

Loss of bladder and/or bowel control.

Noisy breathing, frothing of saliva from the mouth.


Symptoms lasting from a few seconds to minutes.

May experience confusion, disorientation, headache and sleepiness when regaining consciousness.

Follow the DRSABCD emergency action plan.

Call 000 for an ambulance if required.

Protect the casualty from danger. Move items away from the casualty rather than attempting to move the casualty.

Loosen tight clothing.

Place something soft under the head.

Stay with the casualty until the seizure ends.

If the casualty vomits roll immediately onto their side to clear the airway.

Once the seizure has stopped place the casualty on their side.

Reassure the casualty.

Allow the casualty to sleep with supervision.

DO NOT restrain the casualty.

DO NOT place anything in the casualty’s mouth.

DO NOT force the casualty’s jaw open. 

Call 000 for an ambulance if:

The seizure lasts more than five minutes.

If the person is pregnant.

If the person is a child or infant.

If the person has been injured.

Another seizure follows quickly.

It is the first known seizure.

The person has breathing difficulties after the jerking stops.

The person is a diabetic.

You are in any doubt.

The seizure has occurred in water.

The seizure lasts longer than normal for that person.

You arrive after the seizure has started.


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