National Epilepsy Awareness Month

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

National Epilepsy Awareness Month

In Canada, March is the National Epilepsy Awareness Month – bringing some attention to an important cause.  St. John Ambulance has a great article on the importance of this month and what it represents. Here it is below.

With the goal of raising awareness about epilepsy, seizures and seizure first aid, National Epilepsy Month encourages community members to get involved through events, campaigns, volunteering, fundraising and much more. This initiative allows those affected by epilepsy to make a long-lasting difference in the lives of people living with seizures.

Here are a few facts about epilepsy, which will help you learn more about those living with seizures:

  • 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, with more than 300,000 Canadians living with the disorder
  • In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 100 people have epilepsy
  • In 50% of cases, the cause of the disorder is unknown
  • It is important to know that epilepsy is NOT contagious, it is NOT a disease and it is NOT a psychological disorder
  • Unfortunately, there is no cure for epilepsy at the moment. However, for more than half of people suffering, medication will help control seizures
  • Some children do outgrow their epilepsy and adults can have spontaneous remission


What are some of the causes of seizures? Well, not everyone is able to identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, but some are able to acknowledge different triggers, which can include the following:

  • Missing medication
  • Missing meals
  • A lack of sleep
  • Feelings of stress, excitement or emotional upset
  • Illness or fever
  • Menstrual cycle / hormone changes
  • Medications other than prescribed seizure medication
  • Flickering lights or even bright sunlight
  • Illicit drugs


If you want to get involved in an international grassroots effort dedicated to raising awareness about epilepsy worldwide, mark March 26th on your calendar as Purple Day. Cassidy Megan, a young Canadian girl, who was motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy, created this initiative and encourages people around the world to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness.

See how you can take part in the movement here.



First aid for a seizure aims to protect the casualty from injury during convulsions and to keep the airway open while the casualty is unconscious.

  1. Begin ESM – do a scene survey. Make the area safe – clear away hard or sharp objects that could cause injury. Clear onlookers away to ensure the casualty’s privacy.


During convulsions:

  1. Don’t restrict the casualty’s movements. Gently guide them, if necessary, to protect from injury
  2. Carefully loosen tight clothing, especially around the neck
  3. Place something soft under the head
  4. Do not try to put anything in the mouth, between the teeth or to hold the tongue


After convulsions:

  1. Assess responsiveness and do a primary survey. Place the unconscious casualty into the recovery position – wipe away any fluids from the mouth and nose
  2. Do a secondary survey to see if the casualty was injured during the seizure (although it is rare, injury is possible) – give first aid to any injuries
  3. Give ongoing casualty care, monitoring breathing, keeping the casualty warm and allowing her to rest (they may need up to an hour)
  4. Don’t give the casualty any liquids during or immediately after a seizure


Call medical help if:

  • The casualty is unconscious for more than 5 minutes, or has a second seizure within a few minutes
  • This is the person’s first seizure or the cause of the seizure is unknown (ask the casualty when they regain consciousness)

To read the original article, please click here.

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