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Epilepsy Awareness Month 2021

November 10, 2021
4 minutes
Personal Health
Chronic conditions

This November, you can make a difference in the life of someone living with epilepsy by participating in epilepsy awareness month!

Epilepsy is one of the oldest-known medical conditions, but many people still don't understand what it is, how many people it affects, or how they can help. During Epilepsy Awareness Month, The Epilepsy Foundation and other advocates work together to raise awareness on the challenges that people with epilepsy may face and support those living with epilepsy.

What is Epilepsy?

According to the CDC, epilepsy, or seizure disorder, is a medical condition where people have seizures. A seizure is a short change in brain activity. These seizures can last seconds or minutes and can happen at any time, to anyone, anywhere. This unpredictability can create unique challenges for those living with epilepsy. 

How Common Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is one of the most common conditions that affect the brain.

The Epilepsy Foundation says that:

  • 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lives
  • 3.4 million people in the US are currently living with epilepsy
  • There are 150,000 new cases of epilepsy every year

Who is at risk?

Epilepsy can happen to anyone, no matter how old they are. In fact, according to the Epilepsy Society, most people are diagnosed with epilepsy when they're still under 20 years old. 

Is there a cure?

There is no cure for epilepsy currently. However, the CDC has tips for people to help manage their seizures, including:

  • Taking medicine.
  • Talking with your doctor regularly
  • Avoiding triggers like flashing lights
  • Keeping a record of your seizures
  • Getting good sleep
  • Lowering stress

How can Epilepsy Awareness Month Help?

It's important to spread epilepsy awareness so people can know how to support someone with seizures and when to get help from a doctor

The National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke say that over 60% of people with epilepsy have focal seizures, meaning they don't shake and jerk like in more recognizable seizures.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, there are many types of seizures like absence seizures, where people stare off into space for a bit, febrile seizures that happen because of high fevers, and many more.

Epilepsy Awareness Month helps by sharing this information and raising awareness on the many types of seizures.

During Epilepsy Awareness Month, You Can Help By:

  • Learning first aid for seizures
  • Donating to help pay for research
  • Learning and spreading awareness about the different types of seizures
  • Spreading awareness on how serious epilepsy can be
  • Encourage people to recognize the signs and get help

What to Do if You See Someone Having a Seizure

It can be scary to see someone having a seizure. But knowing what to do can make a big difference. 

  • Stay with the person until the seizure ends and they are fully awake. After it ends, help the person sit in a safe place. Once they are alert and able to communicate, tell them what happened in very simple terms.
  • Comfort the person and speak calmly.
  • Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information.
  • Keep yourself and other people calm.
  • Offer to call a taxi or another person to make sure the person gets home safely.

Should I Call 911 if Someone is Having a Seizure?

Typically, seizures don’t require emergency medical attention. But certain conditions or situations can be more serious and require medical attention. 

According to the CDC, you should only call 911 in the following cases:

  • The person has never had a seizure before.
  • The person has difficulty breathing or waking after the seizure.
  • The seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • The person has another seizure soon after the first one.
  • The person is hurt during the seizure.
  • The seizure happens in water.
  • The person has a health condition like diabetes, heart disease, or is pregnant.

Of course, if you’re unsure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you feel the person is in any danger.

What NOT to Do if You See Someone Having a Seizure

According to the Epilepsy Foundation

  1. You should NEVER force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure.  Forcing something into the mouth of someone having a seizure can cause injuries like chipped teeth, cut gums, or even break someone's jaw.
  2. DON'T restrain someone having a seizure. You’re more likely to hurt them than the seizure is. Most seizures end in a few seconds or a few minutes on their own.

Spreading Hope and Awareness

During this epilepsy awareness month, you can help spread education and hope just by sharing information. Join the fight to find a cure and raise awareness this epilepsy awareness month!

Learn more about how you can make a difference here!

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