Bill Whittemore: November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month |

Bill Whittemore: November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month

All through the month of November, National Epilepsy Awareness Month is looked at each year. I know that not many people know this. It seems to me that this month should be known by all people. The reason why is because of how serious this neurological illness is.

Worldwide, one in every 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy at some point during their lifetime. Epilepsy is one of the least understood of all the neurological diseases, yet it is the fourth most common.

Out of all people who have epilepsy, anyone can have a seizure. That seizure might be random. Two-thirds of people who suffer from epilepsy have no specific cause for their condition.

Epilepsy is a neurological condition in the brain. A brain’s uncontrolled increase of excess electrical activity hampers its normal functions. This is a short interruption to messages that travel back and forth within the brain. This interruption is what causes epileptic seizures.

There are several different types of seizures. No one is affected by seizures in the same way. Some symptoms range from rapidly blinking eyes to a blank stare that can last a few minutes. Some people suffer a short interval of confusion. There are much more serous seizures that involve falling to the ground with strong muscle contractions, which is followed by a brief disorientation.

At anytime and anywhere that you go, anyone possibly can have a seizure. Stay with the person and start timing the seizure. Any other observed information would be very helpful, too. The person will appreciate you doing this.

While you stay calm, check to see if there is a medical ID. Move harmful objects out of the way to keep the person safe. Turn the person onto their side if they are not awake and aware. Don’t block their airway, put something small and soft under their head, loosen tight clothes that are around the neck. Do not put anything in their mouth. Do not restrain. Stay with them until they are awake. Don’t call 911 unless the seizure lasts over 5 minutes or the person is injured.

Any of you who would like to find out more information about the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, go to

Bill Whittemore
Steamboat Springs

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