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    Photosensitive Epilepsy

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    What Are the Symptoms of Photosensitive Epilepsy?

    There are many different types of seizures. People with photosensitive epilepsy typically have what's called a "generalized tonic-clonic seizure." This is also known as a convulsive seizure.

    A tonic-clonic seizure should last no more than five minutes. Symptoms include:

    • Loss of consciousness and patient falls to the ground
    • Muscles contract and body stiffens
    • Patient cries out
    • Breathing pattern changes
    • Patient bites tongue and inside of cheeks
    • Limbs jerk or twitch as muscles tighten and relax
    • Loss of bladder control

    When the seizure ends, the muscles relax and the person slowly regains consciousness. After the seizure, the person may:

    • Be confused
    • Feel tired
    • Have memory loss for a short time
    • Have a headache
    • Feel sore

    Recovery time varies. Some people are able to return to normal activity soon after a seizure. Others may need to rest.

    What to Do During a Seizure

    It's not possible to stop a seizure once it has started. If you see a person having a seizure, take these steps:

    • Roll the person onto his or her side to prevent choking.
    • Cushion the head.
    • Loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
    • Keep the airway open. Grip the jaw gently and tilt the head back, if necessary.
    • Remove any objects that he or she may hit during the seizure.
    • Don't restrict the person's movement unless he or she is in danger.
    • Don't put anything into the person's mouth, including medicine or liquid. Doing so could cause choking.
    • Stay with the person until the seizure has passed or emergency personnel have arrived.


    When to Call 911

    Call 911 if:

    • You know the person is pregnant or has diabetes.
    • The seizure occurs in water.
    • The seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
    • The person doesn't regain consciousness after the seizure stops, another seizure starts before they regain consciousness, or they stop breathing.
    • Injury occurs as a result of the seizure.

    Try to keep track of how long the seizure lasts and what symptoms occur so you can tell a doctor or emergency personnel.

    How Is Photosensitive Epilepsy Treated?

    There is no cure for photosensitive epilepsy. However, anti-epileptic medicines may reduce the frequency of seizures.

    People with photosensitive epilepsy can also reduce the likelihood of having a seizure by avoiding stimuli that could trigger a seizure. If you are inadvertently exposed to a trigger, cover one eye completely and turn your head away from the source of disturbance.

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