10 Things to Know and Expect if Your Child has Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a disease that over the years has been misunderstood and has brought about plenty of stigma with it, especially in children. In a nutshell, epilepsy is a seizure disorder in which activities of nerve cells in the brain are disturbed, leading to seizures. Although it can’t be cured, most epilepsy can nowadays be treated with medication, with the drugs being able to control the seizures rather than cure the condition. For parents with children suffering from epilepsy, it can be a daunting and scary prospect, and understandably so. It is a situation where one needs to be efficiently knowledgeable to be able to deal with. This article will therefore look to highlight 10 things one needs to know and expect if they have a child who has epilepsy.
One of the key things to know if your child has epilepsy is that there are different types of seizures, with the type of seizures dependent on which part and the percentage of the brain affected as well as what happens during seizure. Epileptic seizures are broadly categorized into 2 main categories, focal seizure and generalized seizure, with these broad categories broken down further into smaller types, details of which are covered exhaustively on frontlineer.com. It is important to know the type of seizures your child suffers from so as to know how to deal with them.
It is also important to know the warning signs and symptoms of a seizure as far as your child is concerned. Here there are some general warning signs one should always look out for which include stiffening of the body, staring, loss of bowel or bladder control, appearing confused or in a haze, loss of consciousness among others. Some of your child’s symptoms may mirror those of other health conditions and as such it is important to see a healthcare provider for diagnosis and not guessing.
As pointed out above, seizures can be controlled by treatment, mostly through medicine. As such if your child has been prescribed some medicine, it is not only important to give it to them on time and as prescribed, but also be aware of the side effects. Most parents get scared with these side effects and stop giving their children the medicine. This is something that is strongly advised against since more or worse seizures ensue when you stop giving your child the prescribed medicine.
If your child is on medicine, it is also advised that you regularly take them back to the healthcare provider for tests so that you may find out how well the medicine is working if at all. When you take your child for these tests, expect them to undergo blood tests, urine tests and even an Electroencephalogram, EEG.
It is also important to note that even though your child may be on medication, they may not need medicine for life. If your child goes through a period of like one to two years without a seizure, then your child’s healthcare provider may recommend that they get taken off whatever medicine they were taking, as discussed on frontlineer.com.
It is also important to know that there are other types of treatment, just in case the medicine route doesn’t work. These include ketogenic diet which is basically a type of diet high on fat and very low on carbohydrates, aimed at causing the body to make ketones. Other treatment types include Vagus nerve simulation as well as surgery. All these options should be discussed with your child’s healthcare provider to ascertain the right course of treatment for your child.
It is also important to help your child avoid triggers to their seizures. As is discussed in detail on frontlineer.com, it is important to ensure that your child has enough sleep as a lack of sleep has been known to trigger seizures.
You should also expect that your child may need special treatment and attention on certain extracurricular activities. This includes ensuring that there is adult supervision when your child is out swimming and that they wear a helmet when bike riding, skating or playing hockey and such sports.
It is also important that you are aware of seizure first aid so that you may be able to help your child. This, as is discussed on frontlineer.com, includes keeping your child safe to avoid an accidental injury during the seizure like placing them on a soft surface like a bed, laying them on their stomach to prevent choking, avoid placing anything in their mouth during convulsion, ensuring they are breathing adequately among other things.
It is also important to be able to talk to your child, if age-appropriate of course, and help them understand about epilepsy, the type of seizures they have and the type of medicine they need to be taking.
The above are some of the things to expect and know if your child has epilepsy, with more on the same to be found on frontlineer.com.