November is Epilepsy Awareness Month!

November 1, 2012 Whitney Uncategorized 1 Comment

I am an extremely private person so I really debated writing this post but I think it is a topic that must be addressed.  November is epilepsy awareness month.  This is a very important issue to me as I was diagnosed with the disorder at the age of five.  For twelve years, we struggled with numerous anti-epileptic medication and the side affects they caused (plus a vagus nerve stimulator) until I was almost 17 and became a candidate for brain surgery.  I am now 27 and will be seizure free for ten years next month, I am one of the lucky ones.

 I am not writing this post to gain sympathy, or bravery but because this is an issue that must be addressed, to the unknowledgeable, seizures just look weird or can be frightening, creating a stigma around it — the unspoken disorder.  I am writing this post because there are still many epileptics with an active case fighting for a cure.  While one small blog post will not change the epileptic world it may be able to bring awareness to a few.

What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that from time to time produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain. Normal brain function is made possible by millions of tiny electrical charges passing between nerve cells in the brain and to all parts of the body. When someone has epilepsy, this normal pattern may be interrupted by intermittent bursts of electrical energy that are much more intense than usual. They may affect a person’s consciousness, bodily movements or sensations for a short time.

If someone is having a seizure:

  • Keep calm and reassure other people who may be nearby.
  • Don’t hold the person down or try to stop his movements.
  • Time the seizure with your watch.
  • Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp.
  • Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult.
  • Put something flat and soft, like a folded jacket, under the head.
  • Turn him or her gently onto one side. This will help keep the airway clear. Do not try to force the mouth open with any hard implement or with fingers. It is not true that a person having a seizure can swallow his tongue. Efforts to hold the tongue down can cause injury.
  • Don’t attempt artificial respiration except in the unlikely event that a person does not start breathing again after the seizure has stopped.
  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends naturally.
  • Be friendly and reassuring as consciousness returns.
  • Offer to call a taxi, friend or relative to help the person get home if he seems confused or unable to get home by himself.

For more information visit the Epilepsy Foundation (above information source)

On a side note purple is the color for epilepsy (coincidentally the color of my blog)
Seize the Day Everyone!


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