This year, Purple Day for Epilepsy founder Cassidy Megan wishes to correct
how seizure first aid is portrayed on television and practiced on the street. A new poll commissioned by
the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance and conducted by Harris/Decima reveals that when asked what they
would do if they saw someone experiencing a seizure, only five per cent of Canadians indicated they
think they would stay calm and only four per cent think they would speak to the person reassuringly.
These facts convinced Megan, a Halifax teen who lives with epilepsy, to stay focused on education and
dispelling myths about Canada’s second most common neurological disorder.
Purple Day for Epilepsy is held each year around the world on March 26, and is dedicated to raising
awareness about the disorder and supporting the 300,000 Canadians living with epilepsy and their families.
Epilepsy on TV
A study conducted by Dalhousie Medical School researchers, who investigated whether medical
television dramas portray proper seizure first aid, concluded that seizure first aid is depicted
inappropriately almost half of the time on the most popular shows.
Given the influence of the media, Megan is challenging all Canadians who have learned seizure first aid
from television medical dramas to educate themselves on what to do if they approach a person
experiencing a seizure.
“Inaccuracies and old myths about seizure first aid have plagued our communities for years” says Gail
Dempsey, one of the directors at the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance. “One percent of Canadians are living with
Epilepsy, and ten percent of us will experience a single seizure in our lives. Anyone can have a seizure at
any time and in any place. It is essential that we learn how to recognize the various types of seizures and
the simple first aid steps that could save a life.”
To learn more about seizure first aid, the appropriate way to respond to a person experiencing a seizure
and how to recognize the difference between convulsive and non-convulsive seizures, visit the
Canadian Epilepsy Alliance’s website at www.epilepsymatters.com and follow the tips below.
1. Don’t panic! You can help!
2. Allow plenty of space
3. Protect from injury
4. Loosen anything tight around the neck
5. Put something soft under the head
6. Turn to the side to prevent choking
7. Never put anything in the mouth
8. Never restrain
9. Longer than 5 minutes-call an ambulance
10. After, offer support and allow rest