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Advice for Parents of Children with Epilepsy

Nov 01st, 2013 | by NAPA Team
NAPA Team

NAPA Team

November 01st, 2013

Epliepsy is a common medical condition that affects about 1 in every 103 people. Nearly 3 million people in the U.S. are affected by epilepsy and seizures, with about 200,000 new cases diagnosed every year (epilepsyfoundation.org).

Epilepsy causes seizures and affects a variety of mental and physical functions. It is also known as a seizure disorder. When a person has 2 or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy (epilepsyfoundation.org).

The only visible symptom of epilepsy is recurring seizures, caused by too much electrical activity in groups of neurons in the brain (epilepsyresearch.org.uk).

Seizures can last anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes. The symptoms can be obvious like convulsions and loss of consciousness or can even be unrecognizable like blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs (epilepsyfoundation.org).

There are about 400,000 children in the U.S. who have epilepsy. Most children with epilepsy are perfectly healthy and typical in other ways and 70%-80% of them can control their condition completely with medication and lead normal lives. And most children with epilepsy will eventually outgrow the condition (webmd.com).

Having a child with epilepsy means that you’ll have new responsibilities. You need to make sure that your child takes medications and learns how to avoid what triggers seizures (webmd.com).

Here are some ways to lower your child’s risk of injury (webmd.com):

  • Use padded side rails and waterproof pads on cribs and beds.
  • Use seats and seat belts, and have your child wear a helmet when biking, skiing, or skating.
  • Do not let your child swim alone.
  • If you have a young child, do not leave him/her alone in the bathtub. Older children should take showers instead of baths.
  • Make sure your child gets a full night’s sleep as a lack of sleep can trigger seizures. Children should get at least 10-12 hours of sleep and teenagers should get at least 8-10 hours.
  • Tell your child’s teachers and sports coaches that your child has epilepsy, and tell them what to do if he/she has a seizure during school or practice.
  • Your child may have to take medicine during school hours. If you can, keep a supply of medicine with the school nurse and another supply at home. Setting up a schedule that lets your child take the medicine at lunch, recess, or during class breaks may make it easier for the child.
  • Have your child wear a medical I.D. bracelet. This will help doctors and other people know that your child has epilepsy and will list any medications your child is taking.
  • Certain things make seizures occur more easily and the best way to prevent seizures is to avoid triggers.
  • Taking good care of your body (or your child’s) is the best way to help avoid some of these seizure triggers.

Reference:
http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy/whatisepilepsy/index.cfm

What is epilepsy?


http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/epilepsy-children
http://www.webmd.com/epilepsy/tc/tips-for-parents-of-children-with-epilepsy-topic-overview
http://old.epilepsyfoundation.org/local/massri/upload/Tips-for-Parents-Lifestyle-FTNT.pdf

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