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Frequently Asked Questions On Epilepsy

SCHOOLING:

Q: Is any special care needed for children with epilepsy while at school or play?

A: Epilepsy is common in school going children. Most children with epilepsy can be in a normal class or school and have the same intelligence and learning abilities as compared to children without epilepsy. Some children (those with poorly controlled seizures or associated handicaps) may need special attention while at school and play. Children with epilepsy, whose fits are well controlled, must be encouraged to express their full potential as they can do as well as their peers. Children with poorly controlled seizures can be on multiple drugs and have associated physical or mental handicaps. They can have poor school performance due to frequent fits and effect of anti-epileptic drugs on the learning and memory. These situations should be recognized and proper attention given as and when possible. Such children should not be overprotected. Concern about safety of children with epilepsy may lead to them being stopped from their daily activities. Such restrictions are often unnecessary and should be individualized for each child. Children whose seizures are controlled can participate in most normal activities including sports, athletics, cycling etc. Even those who do not have complete control of seizures can carry out most such activities under supervision. Most children with epilepsy can watch TV and play with video games.

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Myths & Facts

Myth
Epilepsy is due to the effect of "evil spirits" or "supernatural powers". It is also a form of "madness". So, epilepsy should be treated by faith-healers, sorcerers (witch-craft) or in a
lunatic asylum.

Fact
Epilepsy is a disease of the brain. Hence, epilepsy should be treated by neurologists, epileptologists, physicians and paediatricians.


Myth
One should never touch a patient having a seizure in order to avoid the disease being passed on to you.

Fact
If a patient is having a seizure, he/she needs your help and care. Epilepsy cannot be passed on to others by touching the patient.


Myth
An epileptic seizure can be terminated by putting a key in the patient's hand or by making a patient smell onions or a dirty shoe.

Fact
None of these non-medical measures are of any use. Family members and teachers should be made aware of first-aid measures required during a seizure.


Myth
Children with epilepsy are dull and cannot learn. They should not be sent to school.

Fact
Children with epilepsy can be extremely intelligent. It is usually ignorance about various aspects of epilepsy that prevents parents from sending their children to school. Many times the teachers also have misconceptions and do not encourage children with epilepsy to attend school.


Myth
Treatment for epilepsy with modern medicines is ineffective and expensive.

Fact
"Seizures" or "fits" that occur in epilepsy can be completely controlled by using a single, inexpensive medicine in 60-70% patients. Another 15-20% patients can be helped by the use of new, but slightly expensive drugs. A few cases can be successfully treated with surgery. Epilepsy can even be cured in some cases.
The Brain

No Seizures & No Fits