Deciphering the deadly myths of epilepsy: Are you seizure smart?
March 26 is Epilepsy Awareness Day. If someone dropped with a seizure in front of you, would you know how to respond?
When it comes to epilepsy, there are many myths of how to care for someone with a seizure, and some that are deadly.
MYTH #1: YOU CAN SWALLOW YOUR TONGUE
“They tend to think, put a tongue depressor in their mouth, restrain them, and no you don’t want to do that,” said Chayenne Crosby, a member of the Epilepsy Foundation. “If you do that, you can harm them and yourself.”
When someone is seizing, they typically are unconscious and extremely strong. They could easily bite off that object in their mouth and choke.
MYTH #2: RESTRAIN THEM
When the body is in that strong state, restraints could cause bruising and broken bones.
“You just really need to keep them away from harm, and just make sure they are okay,” Crosby said.
Move any objects around them and just make sure their head is protected.
“If anything is around them, there is a chance they could hit their head on something, and not only can it make the seizure much worse,” Crosby said.
MYTH #3: ONLY STROBE LIGHTS CAUSE SEIZURES.
Although this is may be true for some people, only three percent of epileptics have photosensitivity epilepsy. Epilepsy is extremely broad and many people have different triggers.
“A fidget spinner can cause a seizure. Being in the dark, being in the light, stress, allergies…Anything that could cause a problem in the world could cause a seizure,” Crosby said.
MYTH #4: YOU CAN’T DIE FROM A SEIZURE
If you are helping someone with a seizure, try to time how long the seizure is lasting. If it lasts over five minutes, or reoccurs, make sure to call 911.
Some seizures may cause vomiting. Turn the person on their side as soon as possible to allow saliva or other fluids to drain from their mouth, keeping them from choking.
Although there are many different types of seizures, imagine how scary it is to be unconscious, out of control, and have your lives in someone else’s hands. Be seizure smart and make sure you know how to react.