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Discharge Instructions for Epilepsy

You have been diagnosed with epilepsy, a disorder of recurring seizures. When you have a seizure, an electrical disturbance happens in your brain. There are different kinds of seizures, and each person may have one or many types of seizures. Here are some guidelines for you and your family.

If you have a seizure

Ask friends and family members to learn seizure management. Also, tell them to do the following if you have a seizure:

  • Clear the area to prevent injury.

  • Position you on a flat, carpeted surface, if possible.

  • Don’t try to restrain you.

  • Don’t put anything in your mouth.

  • Turn you onto your side if you start to vomit.

  • Keep track of the date and time the seizure started, how long it lasted, whether or not you lost consciousness, a description of your body movements, what provoked the seizure (if known), and any injuries you suffered. Using a watch may help keep correct time of events.  

  • Stay with you until you regain consciousness.

  • Call 911 if the seizure is longer than 5 minutes, if there are multiple seizures, or if you don't start to wake up after the seizure stops.  


Following are some things to consider:

  • Enjoy your normal activities. Most people with epilepsy lead normal lives.

  • Don't do hazardous activities, such as mountain climbing or scuba diving. A seizure under these conditions could lead to a fatal accident.

  • Don't swim alone or participate in other similar activities without others nearby.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about any restrictions on driving or other activities.

  • Check with your state department of public safety to learn whether there are any driving limitations based on your condition.

Other home care

Other considerations:

  • Take your medicine exactly as directed. Skipping doses can affect the way your body handles the medicine, which could cause you to have a seizure.

  • Don’t drink alcohol or use any medicine without talking with your healthcare provider first.

  • Seizure medicines may interact with other medicines. Make sure all of your healthcare providers have a list of all your medicines. 

  • Birth control pills may not work as effectively when taking seizure medicines. Ask your healthcare provider if a change in birth control is needed. 

  • Wear a medical alert pendant or bracelet that alerts others to your condition, especially if you are allergic to seizure medicine.

  • Join a local support group. Ask your healthcare provider for names and phone numbers.

Call 911

Tell your family members or friends to call 911 right away if you have:

  • Seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes

  • Multiple seizures in a row

  • No recovery of consciousness after the seizure stops

When to call your healthcare provider

Have family members or friends call your healthcare provider right away if you have:

  • Seizures that are getting longer and worse

  • Seizures that are different from those you’ve had in the past

  • Seizures strong enough to cause injury

  • Skin rash

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Shelat, Amit, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2018
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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