Handling a seizure for child
Once the attack has started it cannot be stopped so do not try to bring the child round’, hold her down, or unclasp her hands. Don’t give her anything to drink. The attack will take its course until finished and will stop spontaneously.
Status epilepticus occurs when one seizure follows another without a period of consciousness in between, and a doctor should be called immediately. In other cases all you need do is loosen the clothing at the neck, and safeguard the child against injury or suffocation. In a grand mal attack, lie the child on her side with her head slightly downwards so that saliva does not flow into her windpipe. If she seems to be swallowing her tongue, hold it down with a toothbrush handle covered with a cloth or with the handle of a spoon, or a knotted hankie. Once the attack has passed she is likely to be exhausted and fall into a deep sleep.
Treatment of epilepsy does not consist of doing something when an attack occurs, but in preventing it. Epilepsy is a chronic condition and must be treated as such, or repeated seizures can do more damage. New drugs as well as a well-tried range of medicines can eliminate or greatly reduce attacks in all forms of epilepsy.
Children who suffer from epileptic seizures should be integrated into normal schools unless they have several attacks a day or are unable to cope with the curriculum. Parents or the social worker should explain to the teacher that the child may have a seizure and how it should be handled. There is no reason why a child who can cope with normal schooling and has only occasional attacks should be isolated. For those who cannot be integrated into the ordinary classroom there are schools which provide excellent facilities (294).
Perhaps the most important treatment of the epileptic child lies in preventing emotional problems from developing.
Even though many people are now aware of the facts concerning epilepsy, there are still those who view it with fear and superstition. If parents and those around the child do not isolate and stigmatise her, the epileptic child has a chance of growing up without a poor sense of self. Many great figures have suffered from the falling sickness’ – including Pythagoras, Dante, Vincent van Gogh, Emmanuel Kant and Dostoevsky to name a few – so there is no reason to try to hide the condition. (See p. 294 for Epileptic Society.)