Be prepared for, not scared of dealing with epileptic seizures

One can feel helpless, as has Logan Bartle’s mom, but it’s best to stay calm and follow these tips:

Sometimes referred to as fits or convulsions, the term ‘seizures’ is the more accurate term when referring to these neurological events linked to epilepsy.

The Epilepsy Foundation explains seizures as a surge of electrical energy to the brain that affects the body for a period of time.

They also explain that seizures and epilepsy are not the same but rather that “a seizure is an event and epilepsy is the disease involving recurrent unprovoked seizures.”

Whatever you call it, seizures can be extremely unpleasant for the person concerned and scary for those who witness them.

Cerebral palsy children can suffer from a seizure at least once in their life, but not all of them will have them.

Logan Bartle has experienced some of these episodes and his mom, Hayley, is one of the millions of witnesses who have had to deal with a feeling of helplessness when faced with these disquieting incidents.

Epileptic seizures can be related to brain injury, genetics, brain structure or have a metabolic cause, however, most often the reason for them remains unknown.

I have personally had seizures a number of times, the last of which was more than 20 years ago.

Having gone through the normal but extensive tests such as an electro-encephalogram (EEG), CT scan and blood tests, the explanation given for mine was low magnesium.

I was on medication for a number of years, but thankfully, mine ceased to occur and I was taken off the anti-seizure medication.

Furthermore, very close family members have had seizures in front of me and I found these to be frightening because I truly did feel helpless at first.

Having gained some knowledge from these experiences, I find that the best way to react is to remain calm and to encourage everyone around the person having the seizure to do the same.

There are a variety of seizures, some of which can be anticipated before they occur by a diagnosed epileptic.

However, many times they occur without warning and can affect anyone at any given moment.

Epilepsy SA – – mentions that medical help is usually not necessary after a seizure but should be sought under certain circumstances.

Such examples would include repetitive seizures without the person regaining consciousness in-between; the seizure shows no sign of stopping after a few minutes; if there is a physical injury during the seizure or if the person does not have a history of prior seizures.

The First Aid recommended for someone experiencing a seizure is detailed as follows:

What to do:

  • Stay calm
  • Gently ease the person onto the floor and help move them onto their side to aid their breathing (the recovery position is recommended as well)
  • Cushion their head
  • Loosen neck ties and any other tight fitting item around their necks that might make it difficult to breathe
  • Remove spectacles
  • Clear the area around them of sharp or hard objects to help prevent injury
  • Time the seizure and call an ambulance if it lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • Remain with them until they are fully recovered
  • Check to see if the person is wearing a medical bracelet or other emergency information

What not to do:

  • Do not restrict their movement
  • Do not put anything in their mouth

Once the seizure has ended and the person is fully awake the following is advised:

  • Help them to sit in a safe place
  • When they are alert and able to communicate, explain in simple terms what happened
  • Comfort the person and speak calmly (I tend to do this even during the seizures though as it helps to calm me but also to reassure the person that they are not alone even though I am unsure if they are aware of what I am saying to them)
  • Assist them to get home safely

Despite 1 in 100 South Africans suffering from epilepsy, there remains a tinge of stigma attached to the condition which does not help the millions of epilepsy sufferers.

Add this to the stigma attached to cerebral palsy and those with both conditions have a great burden to carry.

If I was to tell you that Danny Glover, Susan Boyle and Jonty Rhodes were just three celebrities currently living with the condition or who have had it at some point in their lives would that change your perception of epilepsy and sufferers thereof?

By learning more about both cerebral palsy and epilepsy, you could add value to someone’s life and even save it.

Watching someone have a seizure can be extremely frightening yet we should not be scared, but rather prepared.

The Fit for Logan Challenge aims to create awareness around cerebral palsy and to raise funds towards Logan Bartle’s current and future medical expenses including those incurred by his seizure-related hospital visits.

Help us to help Logan by sponsoring any or all of the participants per kilogram lost in the weight-loss challenge by contacting them telephonically, on WhatsApp or by e-mail.

Alternatively, click here to access the sponsorship link on any of the Fit For Logan Challenge articles.

The GO! & Express is the sole print media sponsor of the Fit For Logan Challenge


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