It can break your heart when you see your child suffering. But, to see your child experiencing a seizure can really terrify you. Especially when you know Epilepsy is the 4th most common neurological disease [S1] in the world. Don’t worry! A simple first aid can keep them free from harm. Before we discuss the reasons and treatments of seizures, let’s first find out what is a seizure and its different types.
A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled surge of electrical activity in the brain which can cause changes in behavior and levels of consciousness. A person may see, smell or feel some unusual sensations or move in unusual ways. The person may also have bizarre postures. Fits, when a person falls to the ground and starts to shake uncontrollably is also a kind of seizure.
Different types of seizures
Seizures can be classified based on the extent of the brain they tend to affect. The effect of focal seizures is on a specific part of the brain whereas, the generalized seizures have an impact all over the brain.
Seizures can also be classified based on symptoms. Tonic-clonic seizures, commonly known as fits, are a type of generalized seizures. A person having a tonic-clonic seizure may fall down, go stiff or shake uncontrollably or may be unconscious. The person may also lose control of bladder and bowel and can afterward remain sleepy or confused.
Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, are also generalized. When having an absence seizure, the person will not be aware of what is happening around him and may not be able to respond appropriately to people. Staring at a point, blinking eyes or making chewing movements are also seen during this type of seizure.
The common notion is that the person having a seizure is unable to control what is happening.
The cause of these seizures
Seizures may occur in young children when they have a high fever. These are commonly called febrile convulsions. Seizures are also seen when there is a lack of oxygen in the brain or a brain injury. In some children, these seizures may get provoked due to certain triggers such as flashing lights.
What should you do when your child is having a seizure?
First of all, you must not panic. Stay calm and try to help your child. Try to protect their body and head. If they are in water keep them from drowning. Don’t try to make them eat anything as they might not be able to chew, and swallow the food inappropriately.
After the attack ends, lay them down and roll them on their side if there is any fluid in their mouth. Also, ensure that they are breathing properly. Take your child to see a doctor if this happened for the first time. Your child needs medical aid if the seizure lasted for more than 5 minutes or in case of multiple seizures. Also, visit a doctor if your child was unconscious of a long time and had trouble breathing.
When you see a doctor after the convulsion, describe the seizure- how your child behaved and looked. Show them a video of the seizure if you recorded any. If you timed the seizure, don’t forget to mention it to the doctor.
Your child might have to undergo a few tests like EEG (electroencephalogram), which records the electrical activity in the brain. The doctor may also suggest an MRI or a CT scan as per the intensity of the seizure.
Febrile convulsions are not usually risky, however, consulting a doctor is always a good idea. If your child has had a seizure, the possibility is that they might have it again. In such a case, medications are necessary. Several different treatments must be tried to find which one suits your child best. Surgeries are also required at times.
Common medications to treat various forms of seizures(epilepsy) are as follows.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition in which a person suffers from more than one seizure. The good news is that as children grow, these seizures or epilepsy usually stops. If your child’s seizures are triggered from a specific thing, try to keep them away from it. Febrile convulsions are hard to prevent and may occur when a fever is impending.
1 in every 20 children is known to have a seizure in childhood. Most children recover well, though they may get a bit sleepy or confused after it. Deaths due to seizures are quite scarce, however, the risks increase if the seizures get longer.