Today is International Day of Person's with Disabilities

Epilepsy Ireland Seizure first aid logo - Time Safe Stay

Today is United Nations International Day of Person’s with Disabilities. The campaign in Ireland is being co-ordinated by our colleagues in the Disability Federation of Ireland.

The day aims to recognise those living with disabilities; raise awareness of their conditions; and to highlight the challenges that can face many living with permanent life-long conditions.

Epilepsy is often described as an invisible disability. Aside from the presentation of seizures, people living with the condition can experience misconceptions and stigma as a result of their condition – including questions around their ability to work; societal implications like being unable to drive as a result of their seizures; and other impacts such as the side-effects of medications designed to control or manage their seizures.

Epilepsy is also extremely individual and each person’s journey with the condition is unique to them. Therefore, some people living with the condition would describe their epilepsy as a disability, while others will not – due to their own lived experience.

Often what is communicated to our team of Community Resource Officers from people with epilepsy and their families, is the importance of knowing what to do in the event of a seizure – and recognising that there is more than one type of seizure.

For International Day of Person’s with Disabilities, we are appealing to the public to please learn more about seizure-first aid. With 40,000 people living with epilepsy across the country, this is vital knowledge for the public to know and understand.

Remember the three key words of TIME – SAFE – STAY:

TIME – if a seizure goes over five minutes, it could potentially be dangerous for the person having the seizure and an ambulance will need to be called.
SAFE – keep the person having the seizure safe. Make sure they won’t hurt themselves and remove any potentially dangerous objects from the person’s vicinity during the seizure, but never restrain them, hold them down or put anything in their mouth.
STAY – stay with the person until the seizure if over and until they have recovered. Often a person will feel exhausted, dazed & confused after a seizure so stay with them, speak calmly and let them know that they will be okay.

You can download our seizure first aid posters at the end of this article, and we would appreciate if you could share these with your family, friends and colleagues to help create greater awareness of seizure first aid amongst the general public.

If you or your family member require any advice or support regarding your/their epilepsy, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your local Community Resource Officer.