Supporting members with Epilepsy
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a tendency to have recurrent seizures (sometimes called fits). Seizures occur when there is a sudden burst of excess electrical activity in the brain, causing a temporary disruption in the normal passing of message between brain cells. There are many different types of seizure and how someone reacts will vary, depending on where in the brain epileptic activity begins.
Living with epilepsy
Many people with epilepsy do not know what causes it, but once diagnosed, it is often treated with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Modern AEDs can be very effective.
Certain factors make seizures more likely for some people with epilepsy. These are often referred to as ‘triggers’. Triggers can include stress, not sleeping well or drinking too much alcohol. Some people have found that they have more seizures if they miss meals. Not taking epilepsy medication is another common trigger. However, it is important to remember that not all people with epilepsy know what triggers their seizures.
Some, but not all, people with epilepsy will not be able to drive, either temporarily or permanently. This should be taken into account if you have an adult volunteer with epilepsy.
First aid for epileptic seizures
Seizures can be manifested in many different ways. However, there are a few practical actions to take in the event of an epileptic seizure occurring.
- Do Protect the person from injury and keep them away from potential hazards
- Do Reassure them calmly
- Do Time how long the seizure lasts
- Do Put them in the recovery position once the seizure has finished
- Do Stay with them until recovery is complete
- Don't Restrain their movements
- Don't Try to move them, unless they are in danger
- Don't Attempt to bring them round
- Don't Give them anything to eat or drink until they are fully recovered
Call an ambulance (999) if:
- Call 999 if it's the person’s first seizure
- Call 999 if the seizure lasts longer than five minutes
- Call 999 if the person is injured during the seizure
- Call 999 if you believe they need urgent medical attention