On World Epilepsy Day, learn how to help a person with seizures – Horizons


March 26 is World Epilepsy Awareness Day. The date was created to spread knowledge about the disease and thus lessen prejudice. In several countries, dressing in purple is a way to demystify the disease, and so the date is also known as purple day, a free translation.

Epilepsy is a temporary and reversible change in brain functioning, generated by abnormal electrical activity of brain cells, causing epileptic seizures. There are several causes for the disease, such as a severe head injury, an infection (meningitis, for example), neurocysticercosis ("solitary eggs" in the brain), alcohol and drug abuse. Often the origin may also be related to congenital malformation of the brain.

Crises can manifest in different ways. The convulsions are when the person contracts the muscles involuntarily. But absences can occur when the person stares, loses contact with the medium for a few seconds or when the person has no control of their actions, making automatic movements, such as walking without direction.

Check out some tips on how to help a person in seizures:

– Keep calm and reassure the people around you;
– Try to prevent the person from falling abruptly to the ground;
– Keep her lying on her stomach, but with her head turned to the side, avoiding her stifling her saliva;
– Try to protect the head with something soft;
– Never hold the person or impede his movements (let him struggle);
– Remove objects nearby so that she can get hurt;
– Loosen the clothes of the person in crisis, if necessary;
– If possible, lift the chin to facilitate the passage of air;
– Do not attempt to introduce objects into the patient's mouth during seizures;
– Do not give covers;
– Do not throw water on her or offer anything for her to smell;
– Check for a bracelet, medal, or other emergency medical identification that may suggest the cause of the seizure;
– Stay with the person until he or she regains consciousness;
– If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes without signs of improvement, ask for medical help;
– When the crisis passes, let the person rest.


The treatment of epilepsies is done with medications that prevent abnormal brain electrical discharges, which are the origin of epileptic seizures. Cases with frequent and uncontrollable seizures are candidates for surgical intervention.

Source: Ministry of Health

Read more:
UFMG performs 'Purple Day' to reduce prejudice against epilepsy

* With Ministry of Health


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