Eau Claire (WQOW) – November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, and a local organization wants to educate you about how you can help if someone is experiencing an episode.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Western Wisconsin told News 18 there are over 14,000 people in Wisconsin with epilepsy, so there’s a chance to know someone who’s gone through an epileptic seizure.
Foundation staff said of those living with epilepsy, one in 1,000 could die from a seizure. However an episode isn’t always convulsive. Sometimes a person could stop mid-task, wander off, or even look uncomfortable with their surroundings by tugging at their clothes.
Executive Director Debbie Nichols told News 18 the biggest misconception is people think epilepsy is a mental illness.
“We want to take that stigma and fear away because I think that’s why people hesitate to get involved, or they look the other way when an emergency is happening. That comes from fear,” Nichols said. “So, our mission is to educate to community, so people are comfortable with talking about epilepsy.”
Nichols also said offering support to someone after a seizure is an important part of helping them through it.
For more information about signs to look for, do’s and don’ts for helping someone through a seizure, and resources through the Epilepsy Foundation, click here.