In its simplest form, epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects your central nervous system – the part of your body that processes and interprets information, determines a response and transmits that response through the spinal cord to the right body part – helping you breathe, sweat, dance and even blink.
Epilepsy disturbs the normal signal flow, or activity, in the brain, resulting in abnormal behaviour, such as:
- Losing control of your bladder
- Staring blankly
- Jerking movements
- Repetitive movements, like tapping your fingers
What causes seizures?
Doctors haven’t been able to pin down a specific trigger, as many seizures simply just happen – which is why there are such strict driving rules that apply to epileptics. There are a few things that may trigger a seizure, such as:
- Using drugs
- Abnormal levels of glucose and sodium in your body
- Flashing lights such as strobe lights in a club
- Lack of sleep
- And even, for women – your period
Here’s what you need to do if you see someone having a seizure:
- Roll the person into the recovery position (on the side).
- Lie them on their side in case they vomit
- Keep them away from sharp edges to stop them from hurting themselves, and put something soft under their head.
- Remember, if a seizure lasts longer than five minutes, or if more than one seizure occurs without the person regaining consciousness, contact emergency medical services on — 10177 — immediately.
- Stay with the person until help arrives
Here’s a quick demonstration: