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Discharge Instructions for Pediatric Epilepsy

Your child has been diagnosed with epilepsy. This is a disorder with recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Seizures are brief electrical disturbances in the brain. There are different kinds of seizures, and each child’s seizures are unique. Here's what you need to know about home care.

General guidelines

  • Help your child enjoy normal activities. Most children with epilepsy lead normal lives.

  • Note any factors that might trigger a seizure, such as fever or flashing lights.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about any restrictions on your child’s activities.

  • Don’t let your child swim alone or participate in other similar activities without others nearby.

  • Seizure precautions also include not bathing alone. A child can drown in just a few inches of water. Showers are a better choice for children with seizures.

  • Give your child the medicine exactly as directed. Skipping doses can alter blood levels of the medicine and may cause a seizure.

  • Don’t give your child any over-the-counter medicine without talking with your healthcare provider first.

  • If your child has prolonged seizures, or clusters of seizures, talk with your healthcare provider about rescue seizure medicines.

  • Give your child a medical alert pendant to wear. Ask your healthcare provider how to get one if you aren’t sure.

  • Learn CPR.

  • Teenagers with epilepsy should not be driving. Consult your state's driving regulations for specific rules about driving.

Protecting your child during a seizure

Take the following steps to protect your child when he or she has a seizure:

  • Stay calm, and stay with your child.

  • Do what you can to prevent injury, but don't restrain movement, which can actually cause injury to you or your child.

  • Move sharp or hard objects away from your child.

  • Place a flat, soft object under your child's head to cushion the head.

  • Attempt to roll your child onto his or her side.

  • Loosen tight clothing.

  • Have someone call 911 (or your local emergency number) if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes. Don’t leave your child alone.

  • Don’t put anything in your child's mouth and don't try to hold the tongue. It is impossible to swallow the tongue.

  • Don't give your child oral medicines or liquids during a seizure.

  • Don’t panic. It is normal to turn slightly blue or pale during a seizure. And, in most cases, seizures last fewer than 3 minutes. They usually just stop on their own.

After a seizure

  • Let your child sleep after a seizure. It’s normal for the child to be sleepy.

  • Notify your child's healthcare provider when seizures have happened.

Follow-up

  • Make a follow-up appointment.

  • Keep all scheduled appointments with your child’s healthcare provider even if seizures are controlled. Regular visits will help to find any side effects your child may be having from the medicine.

When to call your child's healthcare provider

Call the healthcare provider right away if your child has any of the following:

  • Seizures that happen more often or are different than those your
    child has experienced in the past, including prolonged seizures

  • Trouble breathing

  • Rash

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your child's healthcare provider

 

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