Common misconceptions about epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition which causes people to have recurrent seizures over a long period of months or years. A seizure occurs when there are abnormal movements in the body or there is a change in behaviour that is due to abnormal activity in the brain.

Epilepsy is a very common medical condition which can be well controlled with adequate knowledge and proper medical treatment. However, there are many beliefs and practices about the condition which should be abandoned.

Some of these wrong beliefs are highlighted.

  • Epilepsy is contagious

Although a widely held belief, it is completely wrong to think that touching someone with epilepsy or having contact with their saliva would lead to someone else contracting the condition.

Epilepsy occurs as a result of abnormal signals in the brain and cannot be passed from one person to another.

  • Epilepsy occurs as a result of a spiritual attack

There is no proof that epilepsy occurs as a result of an unseen spiritual force, therefore, this belief should be discarded.

Epilepsy can be kept under control most times with the correct anti-epilepsy medication.

  • You should force something into people’s mouth during an attack of epilepsy

This is entirely wrong and should be avoided at all cost because doing this can result in injuries to the individual suffering from a seizure. When an individual suffers from seizures all dangerous objects must be cleared from the surroundings so as to prevent injuries.

  • You should restrain someone during a seizure

Most seizures will resolve on their own, therefore restraining an individual suffering from a seizure should be avoided. However, if someone suffers from prolonged seizures, usually more than 5 minutes, then urgent medical attention should be sought.

How can I help someone suffering from a seizure attack?

Below are the dos and don’ts during a seizure attack.

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