This week (20-26 May) is National Epilepsy Week, an opportunity to raise awareness about what epilepsy is and how to react if you see someone having a seizure.
Epilepsy can affect anyone, but would you know what to do if you saw someone having a seizure? This National Epilepsy Week the Epilepsy Society has launched a campaign to teach people basic seizure first aid.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is not just one condition, but is made up of a group of different conditions with one common factor: A tendency to have seizures that start in the brain.
Around 1 in 100 people in the UK have epilepsy.
Anyone can develop the neurological condition at any time of life. The condition is most commonly diagnosed in children and people over 65.
Not all seizures are a result of epilepsy, things like fainting and low blood sugar can also cause seizures. Epilepsy isn’t normally diagnosed until someone has had more than one seizure.
An epileptic seizure starts in the brain where electrical signals send messages from one nerve cell to another. These nerve cells control the way we think, move and feel.
If these messages are interrupted, or the electrical signals don’t stop when they should, this can cause a brief change in the way the brain works. This interruption or build up can cause an epileptic seizure.
There are many different types of epilepsy which means that there are different types of seizure. The type of epilepsy describes what has caused a seizure to start, and which part of the brain is affected.
Epilepsy can affect anyone at any time, so it’s important for everyone to know basic seizure first aid.
This National Epilepsy Week the Epilepsy Society and other organisations are calling on the public to be #seizuresavvy and learn seizure first aid.
Basic seizure first aid can be broken down in to three simple steps: Calm, cushion, call.
If you see someone having a seizure first stay calm and take control of the situation. Next, make sure you find something soft to cushion their head. Lastly, call an ambulance if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
By learning these three simple steps you’re already equipped with basic seizure first aid.
You can help spread the word about the importance of knowing seizure first aid by using #seizuresavvy on social media this week.
To learn more about what epilepsy is and how to help someone who is having a seizure click here.