Electrical impulses allow neurons to communicate with one another. During a seizure, there is abnormal and excessive electrical activity in the brain, explains Dr Saeid Taghizadeh, Specialist Neurologist, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.
This can cause changes in awareness, behaviour, and abnormal movements. This activity usually lasts only for a few seconds to minutes. Seizures are frightening to watch, but children rarely suffer long-term harm as a result of a seizure. Fortunately, most seizures can be controlled with medication, and the risk of seizures often declines as a child grows older.
Epilepsy is a condition that causes people to have repeated seizures. Seizures can make people pass out, or move or behave strangely. Epilepsy can start at any age.
There are different kinds of seizures. Most seizures last only a few seconds or minutes. Children who have tonic-clonic seizures often pass out, get stiff, and then have jerking movements. Other types of seizures cause less dramatic symptoms. For instance, some children have shaking movements in just one arm or in a part of their face.
Other children suddenly stop responding and stare for a few seconds. Sometimes, people can tell that they are about to have a seizure. They have a certain feeling or sense a certain smell. This feeling or smell is called an ‘aura.’ Epilepsy has many possible causes, including illness, brain injury, and abnormal brain development. In many cases, the cause is unknown.
Epilepsy is usually treated with anti-seizure medicines. These medicines can’t cure epilepsy, but they can help prevent seizures. Other options that may be helpful include: special diet, brain surgery and a device called a ‘vagus nerve stimulator’ that goes in the chest to help control seizures.
Will your child need anti-seizure medicines for the rest of his or her life?
Probably not. Most children outgrow their epilepsy and stop having seizures when they are teens or young adults. But don’t ever stop your child’s anti-seizure medicine without talking to your doctor.
How can I keep my child from having more seizures?
1. Give him/her anti-seizure medicines exactly as directed
2. Ensure your child gets enough sleep – Not getting enough sleep raises your child’s chances of having a seizure.
3. Ensure that he takes a healthy diet.
Can my teen drive if he or she has epilepsy?
To be allowed to drive, your teen will probably need to be seizure-free for a certain amount of time. He or she might also need the doctor’s permission.
What else should I do if my child has epilepsy?
Your child has to wear a medical bracelet; you should talk to your child’s school about his or her epilepsy. Tell them which symptoms to watch for and how to treat them. Also, let them know if your child needs to avoid any activities.