Give your mind a quick jog this EPILEPSY awareness month by taking this pop quiz on Seizures/ fits and Epilepsy!
A few months ago before the pandemic when I was in the market buying my daily supplies a teenage girl standing next to me in the grocery store suddenly collapsed and started trembling intensely as she lost consciousness, convulsing rapidly her lips turned blue (lack of blood), I suspected it to be a seizure and carried out the first aid drill, thanks to a small course i took out of curiosity on https://learn.epilepsy.org.uk/lessons/epilepsy-the-issues.
Steps to follow in case of a seizure.
Time the seizure immediately. If you’re a relative document each attack type and observe the patient each time they get a seizure.
If it’s a crowded place ask people to step aside making sure that the person can breathe properly and if needed give a slight 30-degree head elevation to avoid any airway block.
Put a pillow/ jacket underneath their head to prevent any head injury.
Do not put anything into their mouth like food/ water while they are having a seizure to avoid choking, also do not hold or try to put your hand or spoon into the mouth. It is a common myth that the person will swallow their tongue.
Do not restrict their body movement and remove anything sharp or any object around them to eliminate any possible dangers.
Observe all the movements done by the person.
Wait until the episode gets over and reassure them.
Look for a health card or bracelet the person might have on them, for any specific instructions and to be assured that it is not their first seizure if you do not find anything call for medical help so that no boxes remain unticked.
Also if the episode lasts for more than 5 minutes or the person get’s recurring seizures call for an ambulance.
Turn the person over in lateral decubitus.
Let the person relax and reassure them once the episode is over.
Call for an ambulance immediately only if the person has hurt themselves or bites their tongue during the seizure or if the person him/ herself asks for one.
- Do not call for an ambulance unless necessary cause it may cause more hindrance than help as the person may not have adequate financial backing or health insurance.
- Make sure you do not lose your composure while talking or handling the patient, try and explain to the patient what happened and speak to the patient calmly so that the person is at ease and does not feel judged or any sort of anxiety as the patient can feel quite zoned out, tired and have a memory lapse.
- The following helpline assists people with Epilepsy, caregivers, or anyone who wants to learn more about Epilepsy, Call the Toll-Free Helpline: in English 1-800-332-1000 (en Español 1-866-748-8008).
You can download this chart from here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HTlB8ClupigZ5BINU9aJNl8q22Cp8UaHF_TcQbYCmcQ/edit?usp=sharing
False notions about fits/ seizures and Epileptic people in general and debunking of these myths.
While trying to help the girl, there were some suggesting that she be given metal keys to hold, it wasn’t surprising considering the lack of awareness.
Some common Myths and wrong practices
Wearing metal bangles or holding onions can help control or cure seizures.
Being epileptic or having a seizure means being possessed by an evil spirit.
Epilepsy is a mental disorder.
Epileptic people are cognitively disabled.
They are thought of as incompetent and incapable of functioning in a work or academic environment.
People with epilepsy are mentally unstable.
Epilepsy or seizures are a curse of god.
Children with epilepsy are dim-witted.
Some undergo painful practices such as burning or stamping oneself with hot iron/ glass.
What are Seizures?
Our Brain normally carries out electrical activity to perform functions that allow us to coordinate behaviour, sensations, emotions, a rapid outburst of these electrical activities is called a seizure. It occurs as a sudden attack, leading to losing partial or complete consciousness, rapid involuntary contraction of muscles and some other symptoms depending on the type of seizures.
Types of seizures >> Click
There is a lot of stigma surrounding Epilepsy making the patient more prone to develop anxiety, depression, low self-esteem. Honestly, Seizures may seem scary or odd to some of us and can send one into a panic mode but educating and talking about them freely is the only way one can normalize seizures/ Epilepsy and choke the ignorance surrounding it.
“The more awkward it is, the better” – SIMON vs. THE HOMOSAPIENS AGENDA
Here is a cool video I found, which goes by the channel name “The Spookiest Ghost” speaking briefly about epilepsy, the speaker herself is an Epileptic.
Reviewed by Dr Pratiksha Masurkar.