Today is Epilepsy Awareness Day and I thought it would be appropriate to do a little safety blog to raise awareness about this topic.
This is a part of my life that I haven’t really talked about much. Sure, I am a big advocate for hearing loss, but I have chosen to keep other areas of my life a little more private. This happens to be one of those areas.
According to the national Epilepsy foundation, Epilepsy means the same thing as a seizure disorder. Whoever has Epilepsy, is prone to seizures. Seizures look very scary to an outsider and can be very serious in some cases. When a person is having a seizure, the brain is firing multiple currents at the same time making the person lose control of their body. Some people are unconscious during seizures, while others are not. There is a wide variety of seizures that can occur and it looks different for each person. Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder and affects people of all ages. (http://www.epilepsy.com/make-difference)
I have a pretty mild case of Epilepsy since being diagnosed 10 years ago (2007). I have only had 4 seizures overall and it is well controlled with medication. The seizures that I have are typically like the ones that you see in the movies. I am usually unconscious and have shaking/jerking movements. They usually never last more than a minute or two and I can usually resume normal activities within a day or two with some precautions. My last one that I had was a little different as I had a virus at the same time. In this case it took me a little over a week to be feeling back to normal again.
For other people, their seizures happen much more frequently and can happen in public. So, here is a little cheat sheet of what to do if you see someone having a seizure.
- Stay calm and try to clear the area of sharp objects or anything that could cause the person to be injured. Seizures do not always cause loss of consciousness, so you may need to help steer the person clear of potentially dangerous situations, like subway platforms, high areas such as ledges, walls, etc..
- Try to get the person to sit or lay down, and support his or her head if you are helping him or her to lay down.If the person is laying down, turn him or her on to the side. This will make breathing easier.
- If the person is laying down, turn him or her onto the side. This will make breathing easier.
- Talk calmly to the person during and after the seizure.
- Stay with the person until the seizure is over.
- Call 911 if the seizure lasts for more than five minutes, if the person is injured, or if the seizure occurs in water.
- Keep onlookers away. Seizures can be scary for anyone, and a person having the seizure may be frightened, confused, or embarrassed when the seizure is over.
- Do NOT put anything in the person’s mouth! This could cause him or her to bite down and possibly break teeth, or break the object and swallow it. It is not possible for anyone to swallow their tongue during a seizure.
- CPR is generally not needed.
- Don’t panic.
- Do not give the person anything by mouth (water, pills, food, etc.) until he or she is fully awake. Having food in the mouth during a seizure may cause choking.
- Do not try to hold the person down during the seizure.
Here is a link to a video modeling what to do.
Now, go and wear some purple today!