Many parents are unsure of what to do when their child is diagnosed with epilepsy. The diagnosis can be overwhelming, especially considering epilepsy is more common in younger children and adults. The good news is that epilepsy doesn’t have to put an end to an enjoyable childhood. Here’s what you need to know if your child is diagnosed with epilepsy.
What causes epilepsy in children?
Epilepsy is most commonly diagnosed when an individual suffers from multiple seizures without an otherwise identifiable cause. It’s important to understand that not all seizures point to epilepsy because various medical factors can cause seizures. Any time your child has a seizure, he or she should receive emergency medical treatment as soon as possible.
What do I do after an epilepsy diagnosis?
When your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, you will likely have several questions. What can you do to help prevent epileptic seizures? How do you care for a child with epilepsy? These are questions many parents will ponder. Here are a few things you can do to help your child when he or she is diagnosed with epilepsy.
Epilepsy Resources for Parents
When parents are fully aware of what the diagnosis means for their child, they know how to care for and comfort their children. You can learn more about epilepsy through books, online courses, podcasts, articles, blogs, online communities, and more, and there are several resources for parents of epileptic children where you can find answers to commonly asked questions and meet other parents looking for a community of individuals who can relate to their experience.
Discuss Epilepsy with Your Child
Some may wonder if it’s best to discuss an epilepsy diagnosis with your child. Though it is a grave subject, your child will appreciate knowing more about their own diagnosis and will feel more empowered when discussing the topic with you and others.
Avoid Epileptic Triggers
Once you learn about your child’s epileptic triggers, you should work to avoid them at all costs. A few common epileptic triggers include:
- Lack of sleep
- Loud noises
- Flickering lights
- Fluorescent lights
- Stress or anxiety
- Reactions to certain foods
- Certain medications or drugs
How do you prevent epileptic seizures?
Epilepsy affects millions of individuals all across the globe. However, each case of epilepsy is different because some individuals are unsure of what may trigger their seizures. It’s important to pay attention to your surroundings and emotions when your child experiences an epileptic seizure because it may help you prevent the next. A few common preventative measures for epileptic seizures include:
- Eating a well-balanced diet
- Avoiding flashing lights
- Getting the recommended amount of sleep
- Managing stress
- Taking prescribed medication
- Taking safety precautions in sports or other activities
What are the signs of a seizure?
Seizures can be different for each child. If your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, you may notice a few general symptoms, including:
- Body stiffening
- Unresponsive staring
- Trouble breathing issues
- Loss of consciousness
What do I do when my child has a seizure?
Being aware and prepared for when your child has a seizure is important to help keep your child safe. One of the most important steps to take while your child has a seizure is to stay calm. Here are the steps to take when your child has a seizure:
- Lay your child on their side on a solid surface (preferably the ground) away from any objects.
- Loosen your child’s clothing around their neck and head area.
- Call 9-1-1.
- Try to time the seizure and notice anything that may help medical providers and emergency medical technicians.
- Check your child’s breathing.
- Do not try to stop the seizing movements.
How do I talk to others about my child’s epilepsy?
When your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, it’s important to talk with other adults who will be around your child so they can be prepared if a seizure occurs. Teaching others about epilepsy will help them better understand that your child is fully capable of living a normal and active life, just like many other children.
How is epilepsy treated?
Depending on your child’s specific situation, your child’s pediatrician will be able to provide qualified advice and prescriptions based upon what your child may need for their epilepsy diagnosis. Alongside taking the preventative measures we mentioned above, your child could be prescribed daily medication for epilepsy.
Does epilepsy have side effects other than seizures?
Epileptic seizures can not only be fatal, but they can also cause severe physical and mental stress. Your child may experience the following side effects after an epileptic seizure, and he or she should receive emergency medical care and be monitored closely:
Medications used to treat epilepsy can also cause side effects. If your child is prescribed a medication for epilepsy, your doctor will explain the possible side effects of specific medications.
Treating Epilepsy in Children at Pediatrics East
Your child’s epilepsy diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming. Our team at Pediatrics East is passionate about serving children and their parents and answering any questions and concerns you have. We want to be your partner in helping your child live the happiest and healthiest life they can.
To speak with one of our pediatricians about your child’s epilepsy, contact us today or set up an appointment to visit our offices.