Dravet syndrome is a severe form of epilepsy characterized by prolonged seizures that first appear in infancy, and usually associated with a high temperature (called a febrile seizure).
Various types of seizures can emerge as the child ages. Being able to recognize seizure warning signs is of importance in avoiding undue injury, and in possibly preventing the seizure or preventing a prolonged seizure.
Seizure warning signs
Early symptoms signaling the beginning of a seizure can come in the form of changes in behavior, thinking ability, and mood. They can serve as a warning of seizure coming soon (within minutes or a half-hour) to many hours later.
Behavioral warning signs may consist of irritability and decreased tolerance. Cognitive warning signs may include slow mental reactions, delayed verbal and motor responses, clumsiness, and short-term memory lapses. Mood changes may include tension, uneasiness, sadness, and indifference.
Other warning signs may include fatigue, problems sleeping, changes in temperature (with particular sensitivity to warm temperatures), speech disturbances, changes in urination, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, changes in appetite, a tingling sensation, and generalized pain.
It is important to note that not all these signs are related to a seizure. Some may be due to side effects of medications or be related to other health problems.
What to do
It is important to keep track of seizure warning signs in a seizure diary.
Being able to recognize these signs early can help caregivers prepare for a possible seizure and prevent injuries associated with a seizure, such as falls.
When warning signs are detected, the patient should be taken somewhere safe and their emergency seizure management plan should be followed.
Identifying early signs may also allow time for preventive or “rescue” medications to be given, if they are part of the patient’s treatment plan.
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