Information for adult patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
First seizure advice
The practitioner who saw you today thinks you may have had a seizure (a fit). They have referred you to the First Seizure Clinic at James Cook University Hospital.
At this clinic, you will be seen by or spoken to by practitioners who specialise in seizures (fits). It may be a telephone appointment.
They will try to find out why you had a seizure and give you an accurate diagnosis. If needed, they will advise you about further management.
This leaflet gives advice to help you stay safe in case you have any more seizures and explains what will happen at your First Seizure Clinic outpatient appointment.
What is a seizure?
A seizure may be known by a number of different names, including fits or convulsions. They are caused by sudden episodes of electrical activity in the brain. There are several possible causes for seizures.
About 1 person in every 20 has a seizure at some point in their life.1,2 It may be the only one they have. About 4 or 5 people in every 10 who have a seizure may have further seizures.3 The risk of having another seizure is greater within 6 months of having the first one.
If you have further seizures, you should note down the dates and times.
What precautions will I need to take?
Until you are seen at the First Seizure Clinic, you should try to follow your normal lifestyle, but you should take note of the following:
You must not drive a car or ride a motorcycle until you have been assessed at the First Seizure clinic. It is an offence to drive while unfit to do so and it will invalidate your insurance policy. Staff at the First Seizure Clinic will give you more advice about driving after the reason for your seizure has been diagnosed.
There may be some restrictions if your job involves:
- Working at heights.
- Working with machinery.
To meet the requirements of Health and Safety at Work legislation, you must tell your employer you have had a suspected seizure.4,5 You may be putting yourself, people you work with and members of the public at risk of harm if you do not.
If you do not tell your employer and you have an accident, you may not be covered by insurance. Your employer is expected to make reasonable adjustments to your job to allow you to continue to work.
General safety advice
You are advised:
- It is safer to have a shower. If you do not have a shower, you should have a shallow bath, as long as somebody is supervising.
- Not to lock the toilet or bathroom door in case you need any help.
- Not perform any tasks at heights.
- Not to do any sports or leisure activities alone.
- Avoid open water and open fires.
You must tell people you are with that you are at risk of having a seizure.
You must not put yourself and others at risk.
What will happen at the First Seizure Clinic?
You will be seen or spoken to by a Specialist Practitioner who will ask you about your medical history and what happened when you had your seizure. It is helpful if a person who saw what happened can go with you to the clinic / provide a witness description.
Sometimes a diagnosis can be given from the description of the fit and after you have been examined. The Practitioner may need to arrange for further tests. These can include:
- A brain scan (usually a CT scan or an MRI):
- CT scan (Computerised Axial Tomography). This is a series of X-rays of the body or head taken using a special computer to show the body as if it were a number of layers.
- MRI scan (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This is similar to a CT scan, but shows more detail. These can show abnormalities (unusual areas) in different parts of the brain.
- An EEG (Electro-Encephalogram).This test records the electrical messages in your brain. Special sticky pads are placed on parts of your head and are attached by leads to a machine. This machine records the electrical messages and show any abnormalities in your brain. The test is painless.
- Blood tests to check your general wellbeing.
The Practitioner may also look into other possible causes of your fit.
If you have any worries or concerns before your clinic appointment, please contact your GP.
What should my family/friends/colleagues do if I have another seizure?
- Protect the person from injury.
- Cushion their head.
- Place them in the recovery position.
- Stay with them until recovery is complete.
- Be calm and reassuring.
The Recovery Position
- Restrain the person.
- Put anything in their mouth.
- Try to move them unless they are in danger.
- Give them anything to eat/drink until they are fully recovered.
Call an ambulance if:
- The person is injured.
- You believe the person needs urgent medical attention.
If you need any further advice or have any problems, please telephone:
University Hospital of North Tees
Telephone: 01642 624516
Emergency Department Secretaries: 01642 624858
The James Cook University Hospital
Telephone: 01642 850850
Further Information available from
Calls to this number are free from landlines and mobile phones
When it is less urgent than 999 call 111
Bösel J. First ever epileptic seizure in adult patients. Neurological research and practice; 2019; vol. 1; p.3
Forsgren L et al. Incidence and clinical characteristics of unprovoked seizures in adults. A prospective population-based study. Epilepsia (1996); vol 37: pages 224-229.
Berg AT . Risk of recurrence after a first unprovoked seizure. Epilepsia 2008;49(Suppl 1):13–18.
The management of health and safety at work regulations (1999).HSMO.
The Health and Safety Executive website https://www.hse.gov.uk
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1991
Date for Review: 08/09/2024