Epilepsy in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Epilepsy is a common condition that causes repeated seizures. The seizures are caused by bursts of electrical activity in the brain that aren't normal. Seizures may cause problems with muscle control, movement, speech, vision, or awareness. They can be scary.

Epilepsy affects each person differently. Some people have only a few seizures. Others get them more often.

It's normal to worry about what will happen to your child if he or she has a seizure. But it's also important to help your child live, play, and learn like other children.

Your child can take medicines to control and reduce seizures. And you can find ways to help keep your child as safe as possible. It may take time and careful changes by you and your doctor to find the right combination, schedule, and dosing of medicine to best manage your child's epilepsy.

Seizures may continue and become worse and more frequent over time.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine.
  • Make a treatment plan with your doctor. Be sure your child follows the plan.
  • Help your child identify and avoid things that may make him or her more likely to have a seizure, such as:
    • Not getting enough sleep.
    • Being emotionally stressed.
    • Skipping meals.
  • Keep a record of any seizures your child has. Note the date, time of day, and any details about the seizure that you and your child can remember. Your doctor can use this information to plan or adjust medicine or other treatment.
  • Be sure that any doctor treating your child for another condition knows that your child has epilepsy and knows what medicines he or she is taking, if any.
  • Have your child wear a medical ID bracelet. You can buy this at most pharmacies. If your child has a seizure that leaves him or her unconscious or unable to speak, a medical ID bracelet will let others giving treatment know that your child has epilepsy.
  • If your child is on a special ketogenic diet, make sure that your child follows it exactly. With this diet, your child eats a lot more fat and less carbohydrate. This reduces seizures in some children who have epilepsy.
  • Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for your child to do certain activities, such as swimming.
  • Talk to your child's teachers and caregivers. Teach them what to do if your child has a seizure.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child's seizure does not stop as it normally does.
  • Your child has new symptoms such as:
    • Numbness, tingling, or weakness on one side of the body or face.
    • Vision changes.
    • Trouble speaking or thinking clearly.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has a severe headache.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The normal pattern or features of your child's seizures change.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: October 14, 2016