• Mayo Clinic Minute

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Why kids with epilepsy need a seizure action plan

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures. And it's common. It's estimated that 1 in 26 people develop the disorder, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. It affects people of all genders, races and ages, including children.

And as school is starting across the country, Dr. Anthony Fine, a Mayo Clinic pediatric neurologist and epileptologist, says it's important that parents be proactive and make sure their students have something called a seizure action plan.

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"Seizures are scary … there's always a momentary panic, what do I do? And so having a plan laid out, this is what to do when this child is having a seizure, it kind of prepares everyone," says Dr. Fine.

He's talking about a seizure action plan.

"It's either a handwritten or typed out form that describes what this child's seizure types are, their contact information for their families, their doctor's contact information and then what to do during a seizure," says Dr. Fine.

Not all seizures look the same, so it's important that school staff are prepared and know what to do to prevent an emergency.

"Not every school has a school nurse, but having a responsible adult who knows what to do during a seizure, who's comfortable administering rescue medication, is really important," he says.

The seizure action plan is a step-by-step guide that is tailored for that child.

"What do their seizures look like? And, so, what should I look out for? Because, again, seizures look very different from person to person," says Dr. Fine.

Action plan forms are available online and through the Epilepsy Foundation, or you can ask your health care team to help you create one.