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Purple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th annually, people in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness.

Thank you to the facebook friend who wished me a ‘Happy Purple Day’ via their status. I was quite unaware of this action to raise awareness, so I wasn’t wearing purple today, but decided I could share this with you to do my bit to raise awareness.

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Quick Facts about Epilepsy

There are approximately 50 million people around the world living with epilepsy.

It’s estimated that 1 in 100 people have epilepsy

Epilepsy is NOT contagious. Epilepsy is NOT a disease. Epilepsy is NOT a psychological disorder.

There is currently no “cure” for epilepsy. However, for 10-15% of people with epilepsy, the surgical removal of the seizure focus – the part of brain where the person’s seizures start – can eliminate all seizure activity. For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures. Additionally, some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission.

Not everyone can identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, but some are able to recognize definite seizure triggers. Some common triggers include:

  • Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication
  • Lack of sleep
  • Missing meals
  • Stress, excitement, emotional upset
  • Menstrual cycle / hormonal changes
  • Illness or fever
  • Low seizure medication levels
  • Medications other than prescribed seizure medication
  • Flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight
  • Street drugs

First Aid is simple to administer, although it can be distressing to see someone having a seizure.

What to do

  1. Stay calm.
  2. Look around – is the person in a dangerous place?  If not, don’t move them. Move objects like furniture away from them.
  3. Note the time the seizure starts.
  4. Stay with them. If they don’t collapse but seem blank or confused, gently guide them away from any danger. Speak quietly and calmly.
  5. Cushion their head with something soft if they have collapsed to the ground.
  6. Don’t hold them down.
  7. Don’t put anything in their mouth.
  8. Check the time again. If a convulsive (shaking) seizure doesn’t stop after 5 minutes, call for an ambulance (dial 999).
  9. 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.
  10. Stay with them until they are fully recovered.
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