Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Public Service Announcement: Epilepsy

I thought today I would post on something that has been on my mind lately. Obviously this is very important, especially as a runner. Everyone should be educated on how to handle seizures (incidents as i tend to call them). You could save the life of someone. This has me thinking I should write to my community of runners, bloggers and friends on the issues of safety and to understand Epilepsy.

 If I was facing this alone, it would be incredibly difficult and you cannot even begin to fathom the scariness of a seizure, let alone living by yourself. I was NORMAL until 3 years ago when they stared.

The Facts:

- More than 2 million people in the US have some form of Epilepsy.
- Epilepsy is an umbrella term, but their are specific seizure disorders.
- Cause of Epilepsy are unknown.
     - Head injures, birth injuries, genetics, strokes and infectious disease can cause seizures.
- Seizures can happen at anytime.. (Scary, welcome to my life!)
-Causes are unknown and researchers are still trying to determine why, but we know to many nerve cells fire at the brain.

Due to the many types of seizure disorders, I'm listing several things to look for. These symptoms aren't specific to any seizure disorder, but our general things to look for.

What to look for:

  • Temporary confusion
  • A staring spell
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Slump in chair or falling to the ground
  • Smacking lips or repetitive moments
  • Psychic symptoms

What to do in an Emergency or how do I know if it's an emergency?

If someone is having a seizure:
  • Loosen clothing around the person's neck.
  • Do not try to hold the person down or restrain them. This can result in injury.
  • Do not insert any objects in the person's mouth. This can also cause injury.
  • Reassure concerned bystanders who may be upset and ask them to give the person room.
  • Remove sharp objects (glasses, furniture, and other objects) from around the person to prevent injury.
  • After the seizure, it is helpful to lay the person on their side to maintain an open airway and prevent the person from inhaling any secretions.
  • After a seizure, the person may be confused and should not be left alone.
  • In many cases, especially if the person is known to have epilepsy, it is not necessary to call 911. 
  • Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, or if another seizure begins soon after the first, or if the person cannot be awakened after the movements have stopped. If you are concerned that something else may be wrong, or the person has another medical condition such as heart disease or diabetes, you should contact a doctor immediately.
How you can help:

-Become an advocate for this vulnerable population.
-Educate yourself.
-Get involved.


Get expert insights into epilepsy and seizure disorders as well as advice from members on day-to-day living.
The organization helps people prevent and control their seizures through research, education, and other services. This link will take you to their web site.
This group is dedicated to education and support for children and families dealing with epilepsy. This link will take you to their web site.
This site features information about epilepsy and offers resources for everyone involved in caring for, or treating, those with epilepsy. This link will take you to their web site.
This site has information on disorders of the brain and nervous system


Two Runners Travel said...

I had two seizures when I was a small child but have never had another one. Very sorry you have to handle this but know you are getting great support from your family.

Bari said...

Excellent information, Sarah. I"m sorry that you have to deal with this. It's scary but hopefully the info you gave here will help someone out some day.

Karen Seal said...

So sorry you have to deal with such a frightening thing as this! :0( You complied a great list of information...all very handy and good to know if the situation arises!

Sarah said...

Ya'll are very kind. I'm especially thankful for such awesome and kind runners/friends like you! This is just a step in the journey.

KelseyJ said...

Continuing to pray for healing. Miss you!