BY JENN KUBICZA
Halloween has passed, but pumpkins are still very much in season! This is a picture of our pumpkins from this year. We painted them purple as a part of the Purple Pumpkin Project to raise awareness for epilepsy during November, National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is a seizure disorder and is a huge part of my son’s condition, Angelman Sydnrome.
Did you know that about 1 in 10 people have a seizure in their life time? Did you know there are many different kids of seizures? Seizure activity can range from loss of consciousness and lots of muscle contractions (tonic-clonic seizures) to subtle staring episodes (absence seizures). Would you know what to do if you witnessed someone having a seizure?
Thankfully, when my son had his first seizure, I was prepared from some emergency training I’d had for an old job and was able to stay calm. Cole’s seizures began before we knew he had Angelman Syndrome, so when his seizure happened, the doctors were saying it was just due to a high fever (this is known as a “febrile seizure,” is very common in children and usually no cause for concern).
When Cole had a second seizure in the Emergency Room, they knew that this was more than just a febrile seizure. Cole was then diagnosed with epilepsy, which ultimately led us to our diagnosis of Angelman Syndrome.
Here are a few things to remember in case you ever witness someone having a seizure:
They can NOT swallow their tongue. This is a myth! It is, however, important to lay them on their side if possible. This will allow for easier breathing, keeping airways clear.
Remain calm! Most seizures only last a minute or two, and when the seizure ends the person may be confused and cloudy. Be comforting, as it can be just as scary for them.
Don’t try to hold them down. This can cause injury to the individual. If possible, you can place a soft pillow or something similar under their head to avoid a head injury.
For more information on Epilepsy, you can visit www.epilepsyfoundation.org