Why seizures are not always a sign of epilepsy


By Lynet Ndichu

Many women consider getting a baby is exciting and an ushering moment into motherhood. This usually calls for a celebration. Therefore, when my friend Mercy got a child, I decided to be part of a group of friends who were planning to give her a surprise visit.

My friends and I had planned to surprise Mercy with a baby bump shoot at her favourite picnic joint. We all got to the picnic site on time and got ready for the events of the day. As we took photos near a swimming pool, I heard children screaming for help.

There was a child in the swimming pool and a quick glance revealed that the child needed help. Luckily, someone dived into the pool and swam to the poolside with the child. As people congregated at the poolside, I also decided to have a look at the child. I noticed the child had involuntary movements, a sign of epilepsy.

“He is having a seizure, we need to help him,” I shouted. A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It causes changes in your behaviour, movements or feelings and levels of consciousness. The tendency to have recurrent seizures is symptomatic of epilepsy, a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed.

Before long, a lady who identified herself the child’s mother came to the scene and started screaming. I identified myself as a nurse and further promised to help the child. “This child is unconscious and I have to start chest compression.

I will tell you when to do rescue breathing (mouth to mouth),” I explained to Alice, the child’s mother. It did not take long before the child gained consciousness, after which Alice told me that the child had not had seizures before.

There are two types of seizures; generalized seizure which involves the entire brain and the most common is the tonic-clonic where your arms and legs get stiff and you may stop breathing for a bit. Partial seizures begin in a specific area of the brain where you remain conscious and the seizure is brief and usually takes less than two minutes.

“What causes a seizure?” Alice asked A seizure occurs when a burst of electrical impulses in the brain escape their normal limits. In children, seizures mostly occur due to infections and high fever.

To confirm seizures occur due to epilepsy, one requires a neurological examination where a doctor tests your motor abilities and mental function. When a baby seizes, help it to lie down. Parents are advised to keep off harmful objects such as sharp objects away from reach.


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