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If someone is in water

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If someone is in water

Here are some general guidelines for how to help someone who has a seizure while they are in the water.

Focal and absence seizures

How to help

  • Hold their head above water level or guide them away from deep water. Once they have recovered, they may feel confused or need to rest.

Tonic clonic seizures

How to help

  • If possible, keep the person’s face out of the water by gently tilting their head.
  • Call out to the lifeguard for help and try to move the person to more shallow water.
  • Once they are out of the water, try to cushion their head.
  • Do not restrain them or put anything in their mouth. They will not swallow their tongue.
  • When the seizure has stopped, place them in the recovery position and keep them warm.
  • Stay with them until they have fully recovered.

When to call an ambulance

See our information on water sports and epilepsy.

Epilepsy Society is grateful to Dr F J Rugg-Gunn Consultant Neurologist & Honorary Associate Professor, Clinical Lead, Chalfont Centre for Epilepsy, who reviewed this information.

Information updated: May 2024

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