One of the main reasons we are able to enjoy the adventure lifestyle is because the people around us learn about epilepsy. But what is epilepsy?
At its simplest level, epilepsy is a condition that makes a person more likely to have seizures. The brain is a network of constant electrical activity, and seizures happen when there is an intense surge of this activity. There are many different types of seizure (six different categories of them, in fact) depending on which part of the brain is affected. A seizure can cause strange sensations, movements that can’t be controlled, a loss of conscious and shaking. Whilst most people will be familiar with the drop-to-the-floor-and-shake seizure (called a tonic-clonic) other seizures can cause absences (when a person will lose time and be unresponsive) or physical loss of control.
There is no cure for epilepsy, but there are many treatments that help stop seizures. The type of treatment (and whether it is effective) depends on the types of seizure and the cause.
What to do if someone has a seizure
Around 60 million people in the world live with epilepsy. But seizures can also occur in someone without epilepsy (about 1 in 20 people will experience a one-off seizure at some point in their life) so seizure first aid is an important skill to have. To help you if you ever see someone having a seizure, I’ve made this infographic with the 6 Dos and Don'ts of seizure first aid.
DON'T panic. Seizures can look scary, but you've got this! Stay calm, check for medical alert bracelets or information, and move along any unnecessary spectators
DO time it. It's important to know how long the seizure lasts. You may be asked for this by medics or the person themselves when they wake up.
DON'T restrain. Don't hold the person down, or put anything in their mouth - this could hurt them or you. Let the seizure happen.
DO remove danger. Don't move them unless (there's immediate danger), but check if equipment or clothing is too tight, or if there is anything that might cause injury.
DON'T leave. When the seizures ends, roll them on their side and stay with them at least until they are fully responsive and aware. Calmly tell them what happened.
DO phone: an ambulance for first seizures, seizures longer than 5 minutes or if the person has an injury. Phone their In Case of Emergency contact to explain what has happened.
Please feel free to share this with friends, family and on social media, and spread epilepsy awareness (you can email me if you want it in different formats).
Epilepsy charities & epilepsy blogs
If you would like to learn more about epilepsy, I've put together a list of good epilepsy and health podcasts to listen to that focus more on the health and support side of the subject. There are also some great resources out there online. For great for up-to-date information and an expert’s advice, these are some of the most prominent charities:
And if you would like to read about what it’s like living with epilepsy day-to-day, these blogs are pretty good places to start: