Purple for Epilepsy Awareness

March 26 is Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness.
Wear the color to support the cause.

Epilepsy is a type of illness that makes your brain go all wonky. The most obvious thing about epilepsy are seizures, but that does not mean that everyone drops and shakes uncontrollably on the ground. Some are more mild, and others are so subtle, nobody really notices unless they’re really looking for it.

Although not many people really know about it, epilepsy affects about 50 million people in the world. Which means that with 1% of the general population affected, it is a pretty big deal.

A seizure is an abnormal activity in the brain, and it can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Although most people seem to think that seizures happen when people drop and shake uncontrollably, that is not always the case. Sometimes it means body sensations, depression, momentary jerks or nods, or even loss of awareness and confusion. Since the brain is a very complex part of the human body, seizures happen depending on which area of the brain it begins.

Epilepsy can be treated with anti-epileptic drugs, and although these do not cure, they do help by suppressing seizures.

So what happens when you see someone having a seizure?

  • Keep calm. You won’t be helpful if you panic or lose focus.
  • Time it. If the seizure does not last more than five minutes, you really don’t have to go to the hospital, however, if the person has more than one in a row, or sustained injuries, or is pregnant, don’t hesitate to call for an ambulance.
  • Take away harmful objects, but do not, in any circumstances, restrain movement or hold the person down.
  • Also, do not ever put anything in the person’s mouth. In fact, you have to make sure that the person’s airway is clear, so turn the person to the side so as he or she won’t choke on  saliva or any other fluids.
  • When the person is conscious again, take a moment to give reassurance, but refrain from offering food or drinks unless he or she is completely alert.
  • And don’t leave unless you’re sure that the person is already thinking clearly.

There are also partial seizures that won’t make a person fall or convulse, but may cause them to do random movements. In these cases, don’t restrain the person, but guide him or her to safety instead. As always, stay until the person stops being confused or has become fully alert.

Finally, there are absence seizures that are barely noticeable, they may go undiagnosed. These types merely makes a person look like he or she is daydreaming, or have very light jerking or shrugging, it may go undiagnosed.

Learn more or take this quiz to check your knowledge on epilepsy.