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What Should You do if Someone is Having Grand Mal Seizure?

Grand mal seizures are the most common form of seizure. This is characterized by loss of consciousness and muscular spasms. Grand mal seizures are caused due to abnormal electrical activity in the neurons of the brain. The causes of such seizures are varied for different people.

What Should You do If Someone is Having Grand Mal Seizure?

It is to be remembered that one must not do any kind of self-medication under any circumstances. When people around the patient think the situation to be a case of emergency, they should call 911 for help. However, some first-aid may be given to the patient-

  • The patient may be eased to the floor.
  • Any sharp or hard objects around the patient should be cleared when he encounters an episode of grand mal seizures. This prevents injury.
  • Something soft and flat may be put under the patient’s head to prevent head injury.
  • A patient having an episode of grand mal seizure, find it difficult to breathe. Turning him gently onto one side may help him breathe properly.
  • Anything around the neck like a tie that may make the patient hard to breathe, should be loosened.
  • It is extremely important to time the grand mal seizures. If it exceeds more than 5 minutes, the emergency helpline should be dialed.
  • Someone should stay with the patient until his grand mal seizures ends and gains consciousness.
  • People around the patient should keep calm during an episode of grand mal seizures.

What to Do Once the Grand Mal Seizures Ends?

It is important for someone to stay with the patient until he gains consciousness. It is quite normal for a patient to be disillusioned right after gaining consciousness. The patient should be calmed and he should be spoken to calmly. Once he becomes alert and is able to talk, he should be explained what had happened. If it is such that the patient has an episode of grand mal seizures when he is out of his house, arrangements should be made to send him home. It should be made sure that the patient reaches home safely.

What Are The Things To Avoid When Someone Is Having A Grand Mal Seizure?

It is true that if a person sees a patient having grand mal seizures for the first time, he might try to stop the grand mal seizures. This is important to understand that no other efforts must be made to stop those irregular movements. Only if the grand mal seizures does not stop within 5 minutes one should call the emergency helpline number, 911. Some of the important things to avoid doing during an episode of grand mal seizures –

  • A person should not hold the patient during the seizure or try to stop his movements.
  • Nothing should be put inside the patient’s mouth because this may injure his teeth or jaw. It should be remembered that when a patient has a seizure he cannot swallow.
  • When the patient is having grand mal seizures he should be fed or made to drink anything. In fact, food and water are advised not to be given until the patient gains full consciousness and is alert.
  • The patient should not be given mouth to mouth breaths at the time of grand mal seizures. The patient will be able to breathe normally on his own after the episode stops.

When Should One Dial The Emergency Helpline Number?

It is to be remembered that if anything unusual is seen one should call the emergency helpline number. One must not listen to the advice of the commons as this may be dangerous. 911 should be called if-

  • The patient has a grand mal seizure for the first time.
  • The patient has difficulty waking up after the seizure or has another episode of grand mal seizures.
  • The patient’s seizure exceeds for more than 5 minutes.
  • The patient is hurt during the grand mal seizures.


  1. “Seizures and Epilepsy: Hope Through Research” – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Article: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Epilepsies-and-Seizures-Hope-Through

  2. “First Aid for Seizures” – Epilepsy Foundation Article: https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/seizure-first-aid-and-safety

  3. “Grand Mal Seizure (Tonic-Clonic Seizure)” – Healthline Article: https://www.healthline.com/health/grand-mal-seizure

  4. “Seizures” – Mayo Clinic Article: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seizure/symptoms-causes/syc-20365711

  5. “Seizure First Aid” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Article: https://www.cdc.gov/epilepsy/about/first-aid.htm

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 11, 2023

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