International Epilepsy day is celebrated annually, every second Monday in February. People from all over the world come together to celebrate and highlight the problems people face living with Epilepsy.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects 1 in 100 South Africans it is classified as a Neurological disorder marked by sudden recurrent episodes of sensory disturbance, loss of consciousness, or convulsions, associated with abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The electrical activity is measured by an electroencephalogram conducted by a neurologist.
Epilepsy can be managed through different types of treatments; ranging from different medications to approved therapeutic devices and even surgery. Research into Epilepsy has shown that episodes of individuals can be related to their regulation of emotions. For example, if an individual is too excited or in a depressive state, it can be a trigger for a person, hence the need for counselling for people living with epilepsy.
What to do when a person is having an epileptic attack?
- Stay calm.
- Look around – is the person in a dangerous place? If not, don’t move them. Move objects like furniture away from them.
- Note the time the seizure starts.
- Stay with them. If they don’t collapse but seem blank or confused, gently guide them away from any danger. Speak quietly and calmly.
- Cushion their head with something soft if they have collapsed to the ground.
- Don’t hold them down.
- Don’t put anything in their mouth.
- Check the time again. If a convulsive (shaking) seizure doesn’t stop after 5 minutes, call for an ambulance 10177 or from a cell phone 112.
- After the seizure has stopped, put them into the recovery position and check that their breathing is returning to normal. Gently check their mouth to see that nothing is blocking their airway such as food or false teeth. If their breathing sounds difficult after the seizure has stopped, call for an ambulance.
- Stay with them until they are fully recovered.
- If they are injured, or they have another seizure without recovering fully from the first seizure, call for an ambulance.
How to get involved
Small acts of kindness can go a long way, wearing a purple ribbon or wearing purple on the day and raising awareness on social media can make a big difference.
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