WISS Today Article

purple dayApproximately 50 million people around the world live with epilepsy and an estimated 50{ffb30f9a932b8786db5807762ec6229375f83f24f2036a6037adb2267bf0110c} of them has an unknown cause. Epilepsy can be present at any age with most cases often during childhood years. Some of those who developed seizure during their childhood age may outgrow their condition while some may well control their seizure using antiepileptic drugs. If the condition is successfully controlled by medication, a person may be seizure free.

Most children with epilepsy attend school and can participate in all activities. Some may need to take medication at school, help with certain subjects and some may need more time to complete exams.

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder, not a disease, not a mental or psychological disorder and it is not contagious. It is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures; but note that a single seizure is not epilepsy.

Seizure is a sudden electrical surge that disrupts the normal activity of the neurons in the brain. Seizure has different types and depending on which part of the brain is affected, results may vary from a blank stare, muscle spasms, uncontrolled movements, altered awareness, odd sensations, or a convulsion. They may also last from few seconds to few minutes and many occur rarely or as often as several times a day.

Many circumstances or events can trigger seizure that some people with Epilepsy can identify. The common triggers of seizure may include: Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication, Lack of sleep, hunger, stress, excitement, emotional upset, menstrual cycle / hormonal changes, Illness or fever, low seizure medication levels, medications other than prescribed seizure medication, flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight.

After a seizure, depending on the duration, intensity, and type the person may be confused or a presence of muscular ache, headache, and fatigue. After a period of rest, the person may return to his/her normal activity.

Epilepsy cannot be cured but treatment may help. Antiepileptic drugs are used to treat epilepsy. When drug treatment of epilepsy is started, it may take several months of adjusting dosages and trying different drugs before optimal effects can be achieved.

Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) must be taken daily in order to maintain a steady level of drug in the bloodstream and brain to be effective in preventing seizures. Open communication with the physician is important to determine appropriate treatment and know what to expect, what is experienced, what is tolerable and what adverse effect are expected from the medication.

It is important to know how to help when a seizure occurs. Follow the following steps:

  1. Stay calm and speak calmly
  2. Time the seizure
  3. Protect the victim. Remove objects that may cause harm
  4. Do not restrain
  5. Do not put anything in the person’s mouth
  6. Turn the person on his or her side to allow saliva or other fluids to drain
  7. Do not offer food or drink until fully awake
  8. Reassure the person when consciousness returns

For momentary lapses of attention (absence or petit mal seizures) no first aid is needed; the seizures only last a few seconds. The individual may appear to be daydreaming. Because these seizures are so mild looking, they may go undiagnosed. If you suspect someone of having absence seizures, bring it to the attention of an appropriate person.

Seizure is usually not an emergency and a person can go back to his/her normal activity after a rest. However, certain conditions are considered an emergency and needs a doctor’s attention. Such condition includes seizure in water; last more than 5minutes; trouble breathing; occurs after an injury; first time seizure; seizure that occurs close together and no time to recover.

Epilepsy awareness programs dispel myths and reduce the perceived stigma associated with epilepsy.

If you know of someone or your child has Epilepsy, make sure to let adults who mostly have contact with your child during school day know. Don’t forget to let the school nurse know, they are there to help and assist if medication at school is needed.

For more information regarding Epilepsy, visit: http://www.epilepsy.com/