Seizures are a scary thing to witness, especially if it happens to your child. More than 3 million Americans have epilepsy, and many pediatric epilepsy diagnoses begin in childhood.
Epilepsy is a problem in the central nervous system in which electrical signals of the brain misfire. A seizure occurs when these misfires cause communication problems between nerve cells. This “electrical storm” can cause a person to behave in odd ways. There is a lot of false information surrounding epilepsy.
What You Need to Know About Pediatric Epilepsy:
- One or even several seizures does not mean your child has epilepsy.
- Epilepsy isn’t the only cause for childhood seizures, so the diagnosis needs to be made by a doctor.
- The good news is that epilepsy does not usually worsen over time.
- It is not a mental illness and does not affect intelligence.
- Epilepsy is not contagious.
If your child has seizures or spells of confusion, shaking, or staring, visit his or her doctor. He or she will refer you to a pediatric neurologist, who can conduct tests to determine problems with the brain or neurological system. Blood tests may help find the cause of the seizures, but in more than half of epilepsy cases, doctors cannot find a cause.
March 26 is Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness. Purple Day was started in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a child with epilepsy. Her goal is to raise awareness through events. Visit her website to learn more about how you can help.