Seizure First Aid: What would you do?

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A few days ago my morning started off great. I hadn’t spilled anything on myself, the car was running, and I was on time as I headed into work. But that changed when I got to the train station.

I didn’t notice people standing around at first. But that day there were several men and women standing around gaping at something. As I paid my fare and walked through the turnstile my curiosity got the better of me. I turned around to find there was a woman on the floor in the midst of a convulsive seizure.

I grumbled something and paid my fare again to go back out the turnstile so I could help. The man who had called 911 seemed to be under the impression that she was having a heart attack. Argh.

I found an ID bracelet which the woman had detailed instructions on. I then asked that someone move the purse away from her arm. Then we stayed on the line with 911 until the police came and I told them what I had seen and what was on the bracelet. The woman was in the midst of a second convulsion when the ambulance arrived.

At that point I exited stage left. Paid my fare again and reminded the man who called 911 that he did a good thing.

It occurred to me how many people don’t know what to do if someone is having a seizure. The experience reminded me how important it is to communicate to the general public what a seizure can look like and what to do to help.

I found a site that details first aid instructions, for both convulsive and non convulsive seizures. The site talks about the 4 C’s of seizure first aid: Calm, Clear, Comfort, Call. I love the simplicity of this message. Go to and take a look. Show it to someone else. Spread the word.

Maybe next time someone is having a seizure the person calling 911 won’t think she’s having a heart attack. Here’s hoping.

Back to school with epilepsy

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Heading back to school with epilepsy can be stressful. But I have come across a site that can be a resource to parents, teachers, family and friends. The site is called

It opens with a welcome from Greg Grunberg of Heroes, founder of the site The site was designed by UCB and the Epilepsy Foundation with help from two experts, one in the field of neurology and the other in the field of teaching, leadership and curriculum development.

You will find tips for families such as:
* Who to tell about your child’s epilepsy
* Information your child’s teacher needs to know
* A few tools to overcome the stigma associated with epilepsy
and more

There’s also a section for teachers and schools including:

* Lesson plans broken down by grade level
* Detailed information on first aid
* How to talk about a seizure with the class
and more

All this information will can only help to make the transition to a new year (and new teacher or new school) a bit easier. I’m thinking of all of you as you head back to school.

NJ forms State Task Force on Epilepsy

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Governor Chris Christie has signed a bill to establish the New Jersey Epilepsy Task Force. This statewide task force will develop recommendations to educate the public and healthcare professionals about epilepsy and treatments as well as to address the psychosocial issues, such as depression, discrimination and stigmatization.

The Act (S1928) was sponsored by Senator Fred Madden, Jr. (D-4) and Senator Diane Allen (R-7).

Can’t wait to see how this all unfolds.

To download a copy of Act (S1928).

For more information go to the Epilepsy Foundation of NJ or the article in the Star Ledger.

Time to go camping

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Ah, the warm summer breeze. The smell of cut grass and bug spray. It’s that time of year again when kids from all over will head to camp. But what about the kids that have seizures every day? These kids can’t go to camp, right? Or can they?

Well, it turns out they can.

The Epilepsy Foundation and chapters all over the country work with local camps to set a week or more that is dedicated to kids with epilepsy. This allows the camps to create a situation that is safe for the campers and still allows kids the freedom that comes from swimming, hiking, boating and more.

For a list of camps in your area visit the Epilepsy Foundation’s Spotlight on 2010 Summer Camps.

So pack your bathing suit, don’t forget your meds, and get ready to toast marshmallows around the fire.

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