Epilepsy is not a death sentence but a lot of Nigerians don’t believe that.
Epilepsy happens when your brain has an abnormal electrical misfiring, then you get a seizure. Here are five myths of epilepsy and the true facts about the disorder.
MYTH 1 – You can’t have a life with epilepsy.
The honest truth is that the person sitting beside you might be epileptic. With proper drug management and compliance, you can actually live a seizure free life. So go to a hospital, use your drugs well and live your life.
Myth 2 – It is a spiritual attack.
I tire of telling people. God is not some jobless dude that hands out diseases when you offend him. Also, your village people did not send an arrow. You cannot pray epilepsy away or fast it away or beat it away. Go to a hospital, get diagnosed, get treated. Stop blaming some imaginary enemies for something that can be relieved by drugs.
MYTH 3 – You will swallow your tongue during a seizure.
I cannot begin to explain how ridiculous this notion is. Do you realise that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body? It is physically impossible for you to swallow your tongue unless something of someone physically cuts it off.
Myth 4 – It is contagious.
Again, epilepsy is a neurological problem with misfiring of electrical activity. I don’t know how that sounds like a transmittable disease but it is not. You cannot catch it from someone. It cannot be sent to you.
Myth 5 – You must shove objects into a persons mouth.
Shoving objects or restraining a person having a seizure is unneccessary and it is the most popular myth surrounding seizures. I’ve seen people burn a child’s leg, I’ve seen people put onion and pour oil in a man’s mouth, I’ve seen people just flat-out ignore a seizing boy. While I would prefer them to just leave the person alone, if you truly want to help, turn the person to the left and on their side so they don’t swallow anything. Aspiration is the one true danger during a convulsive episode. But apart from that, as long as the seizure doesn’t last for more than 15 minutes, leave the person alone, they’ll finish, get up and probably go to sleep afterwards.
So, I leave you with the hope that when next you see a person having a seizure, you are better informed and you treat them differently from how you used to. Photo Credit: Getty