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#EpilepsyAwareness: Identifying epileptic seizure warning signs

Readers Lounge By Fredrick Beuchi Mboya
Identifying warning signs of a seizure can help you better deal with them (Shutterstock)

Seizures can be frightening to watch. However, most seizures stop on their own and cause minimal concerns.

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The problem is that people can sometimes injure themselves or develop medical emergencies during a seizure.

For certain types of seizures, there are warning signs that a seizure is on the way. If you or your loved ones are prone to having seizures, identifying warning signs of a seizure can help you better deal with the situation.

Early Warning Signs

People with generalized seizures, also known as tonic-clonic seizures, may experience the following symptoms a few hours or days before a seizure. They are for the most part emotional signals:

  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Increased agitation and irritability
  • Depression
  • Lightheadedness
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping

Late warning Signs

People with partial seizures may experience the following signs seconds or minutes before the actual seizure:

  • Unusual smells, tastes, sounds, or sensations
  • Nausea
  • A Déjà vu feeling (you feel like you are experiencing something that has occurred before)
  • Intense fear and panic
  • ‘Pins and needles’ sensation in certain parts of your body
  • Jerky movements in of the arm, leg, or body
  • Weakness and falling to the ground

Identifying the warning signs will help you get to a safe place and let someone know what is going on.

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It’s a good idea to maintain a seizure diary to keep track of what signs and symptoms occur in your case.

You must particularly note changes that may be due to medication changes and give this information to your doctor.


- The writer is the National Epilepsy Coordination Committee (NECC) National Secretary (Kenya), and an Epilepsy Awareness ambassador

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