What is status epilepticus?
A person's seizures usually last the same length of time each time they happen and stop by themselves. However, sometimes seizures do not stop or one seizure follows another without the person recovering in between. If this goes on for 5 minutes or more it is called status epilepticus or ‘status’.
What to do if someone goes into status epilepticus
Status is not common, but it can happen in any type of seizure and the person may need to see a doctor. Status in a tonic clonic (convulsive) seizure is a medical emergency and the person will need urgent medical help. It is important to call for an ambulance.
Information updated: December 2023
If you need to make a call to the emergency services (999 in the UK) on an Android or iPhone device, there are ways to automatically send your GPS location to the emergency services at the same time.
Although seizures can be frightening to see, they are not usually a medical emergency. Usually, once the seizure stops, the person recovers and their breathing goes back to normal.
You may be able to help someone with epilepsy if you know about their seizures. Here are some questions to help you.