Seizures are uncontrollable events that occur when there is a sudden, abnormal burst of electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be frightening for the person having one and for the people who see the seizure. But seizures are not always the grand mal-type with whole-body convulsions. Seizures can be subtle. Seizure symptoms vary from blank staring to brief loss of consciousness to convulsions. Here are seven tips to help you know what to do when a seizure happens. 1. Don’t Panic When a seizure happens the main priority is to keep the person safe until the seizure stops by itself. There is nothing you can do to stop the seizure once it starts. Stay calm and reassure others to stay calm. Most seizures only last a few minutes. 2. Lay the Person Down Gently ease the person to the ground. Positioning them on one side helps keep their airway open. Place their head on something soft and flat, such as a folded jacket or backpack. Don’t try to hold the person down if he or she is jerking. And do not put anything in the person’s mouth or try to hold their tongue. 3. Clear the Area Remove any hard or sharp objects that are near the person having the seizure to prevent injury. Move furniture as needed. Remove their eyeglasses and loosen clothing from around their neck. Don’t offer food, water or pills until they are fully recovered. If the person is agitated, stay a safe distance away but not too far in case you need to intervene to prevent an injury. 4. Time the Seizure Pay attention to how long the seizure lasts. If it lasts for longer than five minutes without showing signs of easing, call 911. The seizure may lead to trouble breathing, which is a life-threatening situation. 5. Assess the Person’s Well-Being After the person has recovered from the seizure, ask them questions to see if they are okay. Ask if they know their name, where they are, what time of day it is, and if they know what just happened. If the person is alone, offer to call a taxi or a friend or family member to take the person home. If they seem confused and unable to answer the questions, offer reassurance and call for medical assistance (911). Stay with the person until they have fully recovered or until help has arrived. 6. Know When to Call 911 Call 911 if: The person is swimming when the seizure occurs. The seizure lasts longer than five minutes without showing signs of stopping. The person has trouble breathing afterwards or is injured. The person’s behavior seems unusual or aggressive following the seizure. The person has another seizure soon after the first one. The person is unconscious after the seizure. The person has other known health conditions such as heart disease. 7. Plan Ahead If you or a loved one has epilepsy, wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace to alert others of your condition. Include your doctor’s number and an emergency contact number. Also make sure your family, friends, and coworkers know what to do if you or a loved one has a seizure.