Seizures in African children : what to know and what to disregard.

When most individuals hear about seizures, a lot of things comes to their mind, like its relation with Convulsions and Epilepsy, the causes, the noticeable symptoms, the first aid treatments, the myths about it and does it even have a cure? These headings shall be made know in the most understandable way in this write-up.

Firstly, What is a Seizure disorder

A seizure is a sudden attack, caused by electrical disturbances in the brain. It causes the body to move in a certain uncontrollable manner for a short or sometimes, longer period of time.

Relation of Seizure to Convulsions and Epilepsy.
Convulsions is an abnormal violent and involuntary contraction or series of contractions of the muscles. It is the sudden shaking or jerking of some or all parts of the body, noticeably the arms and legs. Convulsions are one of the symptoms of Seizure.

Epilepsy, on the other hand, is the closest related to Seizure as it has all the Seizure signs and symptoms. But before a Seizure can be regarded as epileptic, it should have happened 2-3 times in close intervals.

Causes of seizures.

Seizures are generally caused by disorders or disturbances in the neural activity of the brain.
Its causes include fatal head injuries, stroke and it might also be genetic.

Symptoms of seizures.

As already noted earlier, one of the symptoms of seizure is convulsions. Other symptoms noticeable, especially in children are headaches, very high body temperature and anxiety. Some children do shout whenever they experience Seizures.

Prevention and First Aid Treatment.

They are two readily signs that can be shown by most infant and children.
For infants especially, the child experiences Fever and high body temperature. The adult present there, according to the primary health care workers, are to dip a towel or a thick form of fabric into water (please do not use chilled water as this can cause the child to go into shock), squeeze to drain it a little and wrap it around the child. This will help reduce the body temperature, keep it low to a certain level before the child is being taken to a hospital.

The second is convulsions which starts by the child literally “freezing out”, falls down and start jerking. People around the child should not panic, they are supposed to hold the child in place till he or she balances to avoid him or her getting injured as a result of the violent movement of the body parts, before getting him or her to the nearest hospital.
People should avoid pouring water on the child. He/she isn’t totally unconscious.

Myths about seizures.

People in Africa, particularly Western Nigeria, regard seizure in many different ways. Some term it as an action of an evil spirit possessing the child at the point of Convulsions, some regard it as witchcraft sent to cause tribulations and trials for the parents of such children to cause them to spend all their Fortune on such child. Well, traditions cannot be ruled out, but most of this seizure happening is not even close to such mythical reasoning. They can be explained by and can be treated by science.

Does it have a cure?

As a matter of fact, it does. Children who have recurrent seizures are placed on certain medications for a certain period of time. These medications are not for life, they are to regularise and monitor this condition to a certain extent as deemed fit.

To conclude this, children having seizure disorders are normal, they are not possessed, they are not special in any bad way and are not to be viewed with a bad perspective and most especially they should not be stigmatized. Let’s help build a healthier world, a healthier Africa.

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