First Aid for Tonic Clonic Seizures

First Aid for Tonic Clonic Seizures

During a tonic-clonic seizure a person’s body stiffens, air being forced past the vocal cords causes a cry or groan, and they fall to the ground (the tonic phase).

Their limbs then begin to jerk in strong, symmetrical, rhythmic movements (the clonic phase). The person may dribble from the mouth, go blue or red in the face, or lose control of their bladder and/or bowel as the body relaxes.

Although this type of seizure can be frightening to watch, the seizure itself is unlikely to seriously harm the person having the seizure. They may however vomit or bite their tongue and can sometimes injure themselves if they hit nearby objects as they fall or convulse. The seizure generally stops after a few minutes. As consciousness returns, the person may be confused, drowsy, agitated or depressed. They may have a headache and want to sleep. This drowsiness can last for a number of hours.

*In the event of a seizure follow instructions in the individual’s seizure care plan. However, if you do not know the person, or there is no care plan:

First Aid for Tonic Clonic Seizures

After the seizure, the person should be placed on their side. Keep in mind there is a small risk of post-seizure vomiting, before the person is fully alert. Therefore the person’s head should be turned so that any vomit will drain out of the mouth without being inhaled. Stay with the person until he/she recovers (5 to 20 minutes).

Call an ambulance – 000 – if:

NB: Prolonged, continuous, or repetitive tonic clonic seizures require urgent medical attention.

Click hyperlink to your Seizure First Aid Poster.

Information from the Epilepsy Australia webpage.

National Help Line

1300 852 853

Epilepsy ACT

Opening Hours

Monday – Thursday 9am – 4pm


Saturday – Sunday Closed