November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. Epilepsy is an incredibly common brain disorder that will affect 1 out of every 26 people in their lifetime, and currently affects more than 38,000 Mississippians.

Everyone should have basic knowledge of seizure first aid. If a person is having a seizure, protect the head (put something soft under the head and move anything hard or sharp out of the way), protect the airway (loosen anything around the neck, do not put anything into the person’s mouth, and gently turn the person on their side to open the airway), and stay with the person until the seizure ends. Call 911 if the seizure lasts more than five minutes, if normal breathing does not resume, if it is the person’s first seizure, or if you are in doubt of what to do.

If you are living with epilepsy, but your seizures are not controlled; don’t give up. There are newer anti-epileptic drugs on the market that are more tolerable, with fewer side effects, that may offer you a solution. If you are having trouble getting access to physicians or to medications, contact the Epilepsy Foundation for assistance.

Remember, be supportive of people with epilepsy. Receiving an epilepsy diagnosis can be overwhelming and negatively affect one’s psychological health and quality of life. It can be frustrating, especially if people have trouble accessing care or getting insurance to cover anti-epileptic drugs. Encourage people to seek help from the Epilepsy Foundation and don’t let them give up!

Tres Townsend

Executive Director,

Epilepsy Foundation Mississippi

Jackson

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