Epilepsy is a condition that affects 1 in 26 people. It develops in childhood and may go away as the child gets older, but it can continue into adulthood.
The condition is not pleasant to think about. It can disrupt lives, cause confusion and seizures can even be fatal. But it’s necessary to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of epilepsy in case someone around you is affected.
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to think about what can be done to treat and prevent this potentially life-threatening condition. Read on to find out more.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a condition that affects the central nervous system. It is characterized by hyperactivity in the brain that causes a disruption to normal functioning. This results in miscommunication in the brain cells that manifest as a seizure.
Seizures can last a few seconds or a few minutes. After a seizure occurs the person may feel sleepy and confused or they may be more alert. Effects vary from person to person.
In some cases, death or injury can occur. The falling and movement of the seizure can cause an accident. Other issues can arise such as inhaling vomit.
One in ten people will experience a seizure at some point in their lives and this doesn’t necessarily mean they have epilepsy. However, if the person has one or many seizures for unexplained reasons and is at risk to continue having seizures, they may be diagnosed with the condition.
How Can I Tell if Someone is Having a Seizure?
It’s important to know what to look out for if someone is having a seizure so you can determine the steps to take. Some have telltale symptoms such as convulsions throughout the body. Others may stare into space for a few seconds.
If you suspect the person you are with is having a seizure, here are the steps you must take.
· Do not attempt to hold or restrain the person.
· Help them lie on their side in a flat, comfortable position.
· Do not put anything in the person’s mouth or force their mouth open.
· Remove any items getting in the way of movement such as glasses or a backpack. Tight clothing around the neck should be loosened.
· Move sharp objects away from the person.
· Do not leave the person alone.
· Make sure they are not having trouble breathing.
· Pay attention so you can describe what happened before, during and after the seizure.
· Once the seizure is over, talk to them in a calm, reassuring voice.
It is not always necessary to call for medical assistance if a person is having a seizure. However, help should be called if the victim is having difficulty breathing or if there is a bluish tint around the mouth after the seizure occurs.
You should also get help if the person has a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes, if there were multiple seizures or if the seizures were particularly long.
Epilepsy is a serious condition that affects far too many children and adults. Take advantage of National Epilepsy Month to learn all you can about its treatment, causes, and prevention. With raised awareness, it is hopeful that we can make it more treatable and maybe even eliminate it completely.