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Epilepsy in children - discharge

Definition

Your child has epilepsy. People with epilepsy have seizures. A seizure is a sudden brief change in the electrical and chemical activity in the brain.

After your child goes home from the hospital, follow the health care provider's instructions on how to care for your child. Use the information below as a reminder.

Alternative Names

Seizure disorder in children - discharge

When Your Child was in the Hospital

In the hospital, the doctor gave your child a physical and nervous system examination and did some tests to find out the cause of your child's seizures.

What to Expect at Home

If the doctor sent your child home with medicines, it is to help prevent more seizures occurring in your child. The medicine can help your child avoid having seizures, but it does not guarantee that seizures will not occur. The doctor may need to change the dosage of your child's seizure drugs or use different medicines if seizures persist despite your child taking the medicines, or because your child is having side effects.

Activity and Lifestyle

Your child should get plenty of sleep and try to have as regular schedule as possible. Try to avoid too much stress. You should still set rules and limits, along with consequences, for a child with epilepsy.

Make sure your home is safe to help prevent injuries when a seizure takes place:

Most children with seizures can lead an active lifestyle. You should still plan ahead for the possible dangers of certain activities. These activities should be avoided if a loss of consciousness or control would result in an injury.

Have your child carry and take seizure medicines at school. Teachers and others at schools should know about your child's seizures and seizure medicines.

Your child should wear a medical alert bracelet. Tell family members, friends, teachers, school nurses, babysitters, swimming instructors, lifeguards, and coaches about your child's seizure disorder.

Seizure Medicines

DO NOT stop giving your child seizure medicines without talking with your child's doctor.

DO NOT stop giving your child seizure medicines just because the seizures have stopped.

Tips for taking seizure medicines:

If your child misses a dose:

Drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs can change the way seizure medicines work. Be aware of this possible problem in teenagers.

The provider may need to check your child's blood level of the seizure drug on a regular basis.

Seizure medicines have side effects. If your child started taking a new drug recently, or the doctor changed your child's dose, these side effects may go away. Always ask the child's doctor about any possible side effects. Also talk to your child's doctor about foods or other medicines that can change the blood level of an anti-seizure drug.

How to Respond to a Seizure

Once a seizure starts, family members and caregivers can help make sure the child is safe from further injury and call for help, if needed. Your doctor may have prescribed a medicine that can be given during a prolonged seizure to make it stop sooner. Follow instructions on how to give the medicine to the child.

When a seizure occurs, the main goal is to protect the child from injury and make sure the child can breathe well. Try to prevent a fall. Help the child to the ground in a safe area. Clear the area of furniture or other sharp objects. Turn the child on their side to make sure the child's airway does not get obstructed during the seizure.

Things to avoid:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your child's doctor if your child has:

Call 911 if:

References

Mikati MA, Hani AJ. Seizures in childhood. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 593.

Pearl PL. Overview of seizures and epilepsy in children. In: Swaiman KF, Ashwal S, Ferriero DM, et al, eds. Swaiman's Pediatric Neurology: Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 61.


Review Date: 7/29/2018
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist & Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.