November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, and several million people in our country have epilepsy. Most take medication that usually controls their seizures, and most are able to lead productive lives.
But not all seizures are the result of epilepsy, and not all seizures can be controlled by medication.
If you see someone who is having a seizure, you should stay calm; the person probably will be OK. Don’t call 911 unless there is an injury or the seizure lasts more than several minutes (the Epilepsy Foundation advises waiting five minutes) or another seizure starts.
If possible, move objects out of the person’s way. Don’t restrain the person unless he is moving toward danger or injury; don’t put anything in her mouth. And don’t ask him anything for several minutes, as the seizure is still occurring after the person stops moving. You can say comforting things, but don’t say anything that requires a response. The person will be very tired and confused; try to make her stay seated. Think of waking up in the middle of the night, and multiply that by 20 or more, that might be how people feel after a seizure.
A family member of mine has epilepsy, and I have seen family, friends and strangers come to his aid. I thank all of you who have helped another during a seizure.