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Epilepsy Awareness Month

By: Bhanu Kadali

November is national Epilepsy awareness month, where the world can take the time to recognize and learn about Epilepsy to support others with this disorder. Affecting all age groups, Epilepsy impacts a significant portion of America’s population, making it vital for citizens to be informed.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders, often occurred as a result of genetic disorders and acquired brain injuries including trauma and stroke. This disorder is not secluded to a certain group, in fact 1 in 10 people have a seizure, and 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime, regardless of age, race, and gender. 

Epilepsy induces unprovoked seizures caused by abnormal electric activity in the brain. An individual is diagnosed with Epilepsy when they have two or more of such seizures. Epileptic seizures are categorized into two main groups: 

Generalized Seizures: Affect both sides of the brain. The two most common types of generalized seizures are absence seizures, which can cause rapid blinking or momentary staring into space, and tonic-clone seizures, which can make a person lose consciousness, yell, or fall to the floor.

Focal Onset Seizures: Begin in one area and spread to other areas of the brain. Depending on how the electric charges spread, an individual may experience mild to severe symptoms.

What Can You Do?

When faced in a situation with an epileptic individual, it is important to remain calm. Seizures typically cease in a few minutes, within this time stay with the individual and move them to a safe environment, Talk to them in a soothing manner even if they do not seem able to hear. Until the individual is awake, follow this basic guide. Once they are awake, tell them what happened in simple terms and offer extra help, for example whether they need a ride home, the doctor, etc.

In the case of generalized seizures:

  • Ease the individual to the floor

  • Turn them on their side to help with breathing

  • Clear the area or attempt to safely move them to a safe area.

  • Place a soft object under their head

  • Remove extra objects on their person such as eyeglasses

  • Remove objects that make it difficult for the individual to breathe

  • Time the seizure; call 911 if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.

What Not to Do

To keep an individual safe during a seizure, it is also important to know what is dangerous. Increasing your awareness of what not to do is just as beneficial as learning what is helpful. The following should not be done in the case of a type of seizure:

  • Do not hold the individual down or try to stop movements

  • Do not put anything inside the individual’s mouth, there is no risk of swallowing the tongue,

  • Do not give CPR, mouth to mouth, etc., an individual usually begins breathing individually after the seizure

  • Do not provide the individual with food or water until they are fully alert

Raising Awareness

Knowing this information can make the difference between saving a person life and causing more damage. It is important to remain knowledgeable about such information in order to be helpful to other individuals. To increase awareness and increase the help you can do, along with practicing this information and knowing it, you can also educate others on this information. Share articles with friends and family, read more on epilepsy, talk to others, and wear purple to show your support for epileptic individuals.


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