March 26th is World Epilepsy Day, a time to raise awareness about epilepsy and seizures in children. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. It affects people of all ages, but it is most common in children and young adults. If you are the parent of a child with epilepsy, it is important to learn as much as you can about the condition so that you can provide your child with the best possible care. In this blog post, we will discuss epilepsy in children and what parents need to know on World Epilepsy Day.
What is epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures. Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the brain. They can cause a variety of symptoms, including muscle spasms, loss of consciousness, and convulsions. Epilepsy can be caused by a variety of factors, including head injuries, genetic disorders, and infections. It is most common in children and young adults.
What are the symptoms of epilepsy in children?
Epilepsy manifests in a variety of ways, depending on the person. Some people only have minor symptoms, while others may have severe and even deadly seizures. The most prevalent symptom of epilepsy is a seizure. Epileptic seizures can produce a number of additional symptoms, including muscular spasms, loss of consciousness, and convulsions. Epilepsy can also lead to developmental delays, behavioral issues, and learning difficulties.
What causes epilepsy in children?
Epilepsy can be caused by a variety of factors, including head injuries, genetic disorders, and infections. In many cases, the cause of epilepsy is unknown.
How is epilepsy diagnosed in children?
After two or more seizures that were not caused by another medical problem, most people with epilepsy are diagnosed. A seizure must last at least five minutes before it can be classified as epileptic. Doctors will frequently do an EEG (electroencephalogram) to assess electrical activity in the brain to diagnose epilepsy. They may also request blood tests and brain scans if necessary.
What are the treatment options for epilepsy in children?
The most common treatment for epilepsy is medication. Medications can help to control seizures and often improve the quality of life for people with epilepsy. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the part of the brain that is causing the seizures. If your child has epilepsy, it is important to work with a team of doctors to develop a treatment plan that is right for your child.
Types of Seizures
Focal (partial) seizures:
Focal seizures start in one area of the brain. Focal seizures can be treated with medication or surgery. There are two types one with awareness and one with impaired awareness. Symptoms can be involuntary jerking of a body part or tingling, dizziness. Fiddling of clothes, chewing movements, or uttering unusual sounds.
Generalized seizures affect the whole brain. They can cause a person to lose consciousness and have convulsions. Generalized seizures can be treated with medication or surgery.
This is a type of seizure that occurs when someone experiences an unexpected drop in their blood pressure.
Atonic seizures, also known as “drop attacks”, happen because the person’s brain cannot get enough oxygen from its supply – which can lead to brief periods without awareness or control over oneself whatsoever this usually only lasts for about 10 seconds at most though some cases may go up until 3 minutes
Clonic tonic seizures(Grand Mal)
Grand Mal seizures are a type of seizure that usually start with muscle contractions and rapidly spread to involve all parts the body. It can cause a sudden loss of consciousness with the child commonly falling to the ground stiffening (tonic phase) and then jerking of the muscles (clonic phase). There can be loss of bladder control or biting of the tongue. They may clench their teeth, go blue or red in the face and saliva or foam may drip from their mouth. The seizure can last from 1-3 mins and once the child regains consciousness they may be confused, drowsy, sleepy or agitated.
Absence seizures, also known as petit mal seizures, are brief periods of staring or daydreaming. They usually last for less than 15 seconds and do not typically cause any physical symptoms. Absence seizures can be treated with medication.
Myoclonic seizures are characterized by brief muscle jerks or spasms. They often occur in groups and can be triggered by sudden movements or loud noises. Myoclonic seizures can be treated with medication or surgery.
Status epilepticus is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. It is defined as a seizure that lasts for more than five minutes or two seizures that occur close together without the person regaining consciousness in between them. Status epilepticus can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical
What are the first aid steps for someone having a seizure?
If you see someone having a seizure, it is important to stay calm and follow these steps:
- Remove dangers, make the area safe
- Stay with the person, Put something soft under their head do not hold the head, loosen any tight clothing
- Time seizure
- Once the seizure has stopped roll them onto their side in the recovery position
- Monitor for breathing,
Do not put anything in their mouth
Call an ambulance if:
- You are in any doubt
- The child is injured
- There is food, fluid, or vomit in the mouth (they may have inhaled it)
- The seizure happens in water
- The person has breathing difficulties after the seizure stops
- Another seizure quickly follows
- The seizure lasts longer than 5 mins
- The child is non-responsive for more than 5 mins after the seizure ends
How can you help a child with epilepsy?
If your child has epilepsy, there are a few things that you can do to help them:
– First, learn as much as you can about the condition so that you can provide your child with the best possible care.
– Next, work with a team of doctors to develop a treatment plan that is right for your child.
– Finally, make sure that your child has access to all the resources they need, including support groups and educational resources.
On World Epilepsy Day, we encourage you to learn more about this condition so that you can provide your child with the best possible care. If you would like to learn more about first aid for epilepsy or you want to have a first aid refresher. Call us on 1300 642 427 or check out our available first aid course near you.