Updated: January 19, 2018
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing recurrent seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.
Most seizures will stop on their own and do not require medical emergency. However, if your child is having a convulsion, make her sleep on her side with her hips higher than her head, so that she will not choke if she vomits. Do not put anything in the mouth. If the convulsion does not stop within five minutes or is unusually severe such as difficulty breathing, choking, blueness of the skin, having several in a row, seek emergency medical help. Never ever leave your child unattended. Call the pediatrician immediately after the seizure stops.
If your child is on an anticonvulsant medication, the dose must be adjusted. There is always an emergency if your child has diabetes, is injured or has a seizure in the water. The pediatrician will check for any infection if your child has a fever. If this was your child's first convulsion without fever, the doctor will try to determine other possible causes of seizure which include a family history of seizures or any recent head injury.
To make a proper diagnosis the doctor will do a physical examination of your child along with few blood tests. Also images of the brain using computed tomography (CAT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or testing with an electroencephalogram (EEG) are taken which measures the electrical activity of the brain. Some causes of convulsions such as meningitis which is an infection of the lining of the brain can be examined by a spinal tap. A specimen of spinal fluid is obtained that can be examined in this case .
If no explanation or cause can be found for the seizures from all the above procedure, a pediatric neurologist will be recommended who specializes in disorders of the nervous system.
Some parents may try controlling the fever using acetaminophen and sponging if the child has had a febrile convulsion. These approaches make the child more comfortable, but do not prevent future febrile seizures. Antibiotics are prescribed in case of a bacterial infection. Your child will have to be hospitalized for further treatment if there is a presence of any serious infection such as meningitis. Hospitalization may also be required if seizures are caused by abnormal amounts of sugar, sodium, or calcium in the blood to find out the exact cause and control the imbalances.
After diagnosing the epilepsy your child usually will be put on an anticonvulsant medication. The seizures can almost always be completely controlled once proper dosage is maintained.There should be a periodic blood test and EEGs after starting some medications to make certain things are going well. Medication is continued until there have been no seizures for a year or two.
The preteen and early teen years is a time of great change, new challenges, and some dangerous temptations for everyone which are difficult to manage especially in teens having epilepsy. The risks and insecurities that go along with this period are increased when a child develops epilepsy. For parents it is very essential to talk as openly as possible with their child about epilepsy its impact on their lives and any other concerns.
During this period changing bodies affect how children look, feel, and think. Changes in hormones can also affect seizures and medication requirements, especially for girls. Based on behavioral changes teens need to change in the amount or type of medication they are taking.
Having epilepsy can impact the behavior of friends towards the person. Parents can help their son or daughter understand that having a few good friends is actually more important. Teens should be encouraged to talk about epilepsy with their friends.
A first date can be nerve-wracking under the best of circumstances. Epilepsy can worsen it. Teens often worry about is how much and how soon they should tell their date about their epilepsy as they are also worry about rejection.
These substances are dangerous for all children. These are more dangerous for children who are prone to seizures and may be taking medication for epilepsy. Parents should discuss the risks along with ways to get out of uncomfortable situations with their child.
Even if it seems like your child is not paying attention, the message may eventually sink in.
As a teen begins to spend more time away from home, he will need to start taking on some new responsibilities. But if a teen gets epilepsy at this age, it could affect his independence for a while. Parents should work with their child and doctor to find out the best way to organize and monitor their condition when they are away from home. Parents will need to check their local state driving laws when teens learn to drive.
When children move into adulthood parents should help them learn to manage their health condition . This will include responsibilities such as: