International Epilepsy Day is celebrated on the second Monday of February everywhere in the world.
It was first celebrated in 2015. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of epilepsy, what it is, how it can be treated and what is needed to bring treatment to all people who need it.
Epilepsy is a common neurological disease prevalent across the world. It’s considered the fourth most common neurological disorder in the world. Epilepsy is considered a social disease than medical because of stigma attached to it. It is apparent in various forms of transient neurological attacks like convulsions (abnormal movements of body parts like hands, arms, legs or even the face), loss of consciousness, abnormal behavior, frothing from the mouth, abnormal eye movements, loss of control over urine and stool, blackouts and irrelevant speech, vision and sensation.
There are several variations in the pattern and can happen at any age affecting both females and males alike. Two types are common: 1. Partial – a person remains conscious 2. Generalized – a person becomes unconcious.
Epilepsy can be treated and treatment is necessary even for a single episode of an epileptic fit as it can cause certain types of brain damage and prolonged periods of low or decreased functioning.
Treatment is usually oral medicines given over months or years after diagnosis is established.
Certain types of epilepsy might need brain surgery as treatment. The medicines given in people with epilepsy also should be reviewed regularly in children and women of child bearing age as some may affect children at school and some cause fetal abnormalities.
People should know how to help someone when they are having a fit and the following can help:
The first rule is not to panic and try to help the person having a fit. The person should be made to lie down sideways.Remove harmful objects from the surrounding. Give the person adequate space to breathe fresh air and do not gather around the person. Do not stimulate, force to wake up, sprinkle water or made to drink water or smell things. After all this has been done take the person to the nearest hospital.
Precautions in people with epilepsy to avoid fits.
- Person must ensure that they have a sound sleep as sleep deprivation may trigger a seizure.
- Avoid fasting as low sugars also cause fits.
- Avoid toxic elements and stimulants such as alcohol and drugs.
- Avoid looking down from a height, driving alone, flash lights or swimming alone.
- Do not miss or skip medication.
- Always go and visit a medical doctor from time to time for side effects or when new medication is added for another illness as there might be interaction.
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