February 11, 2019
International Epilepsy Day is on the 2nd Monday in February every year, this year falling on the 11th, and is a day which promotes awareness of epilepsy in more than 120 countries. It is a joint initiative by the International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) to highlight the problems faced by people with epilepsy, their family, friends and carers.
An estimated 65 million people are living with epilepsy around the world. Sometimes the diagnosis or how the disease has developed can be clear. It could be because of brain damage caused by a difficult birth, traumatic brain injury, a stroke, or an infection of the brain such as meningitis and very occasionally, due to a brain tumour. However, for around six out of ten people suffering with this disease, doctors cannot diagnose a cause of their epilepsy. There is no single test to identify if you have or haven’t got epilepsy, however there are several tests that when combined can help experts decide your diagnosis.
Brain Injury Awareness Week takes place between the 20th – 26th May. This campaign is to raise awareness of brain injury and give a voice to those affected by it, organised by Headway a leading UK charity dedicated to promoting the understanding of all aspects of brain injury. Epilepsy is a condition that can commonly develop after brain injury. This can happen in many ways from a trip or fall at home, work or in public, because of a road traffic accident or due to an assault. A blow to the head can cause damage resulting in abnormalities of the brain which can induce epileptic seizures or ‘fits’. These can be most frequent in the first week after the injury is sustained however it is still possible for people to be at risk of developing epilepsy weeks, months or even years after the injury.
Headway has produced a fact sheet detailing what to do if someone is having an epileptic seizure.
- Move the person away if they are in a dangerous place such as if they are near a road
- Place something soft under their head if they are on the ground
- Loosen any tight clothing around the neck so that they can breathe freely
- Do not place anything in their mouth as this will likely cause more harm than good
- Talk to them gently and calmly, even if they are not responding to what you are saying
- Stay with them until they are recovered
Headway has a mission to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. Over the years they have helped many of our clients when, following a brain injury their life has completely changed, along with that of the people around them. Getting in touch with Headway can really make a huge difference.
About the Author
Ben Maycock, is a placement student with Spencers Solicitors who is currently studying Law at Sheffield Hallam University.