Your child has epilepsy. People with epilepsy have seizures. A seizure is a sudden brief change in the electrical and chemical activity in the brain. The doctor gave your child a physical and nervous system examination and did some tests to find out the cause of your child's seizures.
If the doctor sent your child home with medicines, it is to help prevent more seizures occurring in your child. The medicine can help your child avoid having seizures, but it does not guarantee that seizures will not occur. The doctor may need to change the dosage of your child's seizure drugs or use different medicines if seizures persist despite your child taking the medicines, or because your child is having side effects.
Your child should get plenty of sleep and try to have as regular schedule as possible. Try to avoid too much stress. You should still set rules and limits, along with consequences, for a child with epilepsy.
Make sure your home is safe to help prevent injuries when a seizure takes place:
Most children with seizures can lead an active lifestyle. You should still plan ahead for the possible dangers of certain activities. These activities should be avoided if a loss of consciousness or control would result in an injury.
Have your child carry and take seizure medicines at school. Teachers and others at schools should know about your child's seizures and seizure medicines.
Your child should wear a medical alert bracelet. Tell family members, friends, teachers, school nurses, babysitters, swimming instructors, lifeguards, and coaches about your child's seizure disorder.
DO NOT stop giving your child seizure medicines without talking with your child's doctor.
DO NOT stop giving your child seizure medicines just because the seizures have stopped.
Tips for taking seizure medicines:
If your child misses a dose:
Drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs can change the way seizure drugs work. Be aware of this possible problem in teenagers.
The provider may need to check your child's blood level of the seizure drug on a regular basis.
Seizure drugs have side effects. If your child started taking a new drug recently, or the doctor changed your child's dose, these side effects may go away. Always ask the child's doctor about any possible side effects. Also talk to your child's doctor about foods or other medicines that can change the blood level of an anti-seizure drug.
Once a seizure starts, family members and caregivers can help make sure the child is safe from further injury and call for help, if needed. Your doctor may have prescribed a medicine that can be given during a prolonged seizure to make it stop sooner. Follow instructions on how to give the medicine to the child.
When a seizure occurs, the main goal is to protect the child from injury and make sure the child can breathe well. Try to prevent a fall. Help the child to the ground in a safe area. Clear the area of furniture or other sharp objects. Turn the child on their side to make sure the child's airway does not get obstructed during the seizure.
Things to avoid:
Call your child's doctor if your child has:
Call 911 if:
Abou-Khalil BW, Gallagher MJ, Macdonald RL. Epilepsies. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 67.
Mikati MA. Seizures in childhood. In: Kliegmann RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th edition. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 586.
Wiebe S. The epilepsies. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 410.
Updated by: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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