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How Children Can Avoid Dravet Syndrome Triggers

Medically Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on November 03, 2020

Seizures are a symptom of Dravet syndrome. Medicines can cut the number your child gets and treat them when they happen. But you can also do a few things to prevent them.

Children with Dravet syndrome often have seizures in response to a trigger such as heat or flashing lights. Learn your child's triggers. Keep a diary, where you write down what they were doing just before each seizure. Over time, you'll start to see patterns. Once you discover your child's seizure triggers, you can help them avoid them.

Keep Cool

Heat is one of the biggest seizure triggers in kids with Dravet syndrome. Don't give your child hot baths or showers. Keep the water cool.

On warm days, keep your youngster indoors where it's air-conditioned, when possible. If they have to be outdoors, put on sun protective clothing and a cooling vest to keep their body temperature down. Give them lots of water to prevent dehydration. Make sure they stay in the shade where it's cooler. And put shades on your car windows to keep out the hot sun.

Avoid Temperature Extremes

Try to avoid quick temperature changes. A rapid switch to either hot or cold can trigger seizures. Move slowly and gradually when you take your child outside in the cold or heat.

Keep Them Healthy

A fever can set off a bout of seizures. Keep your child away from people who are sick as much as possible. You may need to keep them home from school when illnesses circulate, such as during the winter months.

Bring Down a Fever

If your child gets sick and runs a fever, treat it with over-the-counter medicine such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also place your child into a cool bath or wipe them down with a cold wet washcloth to bring down the fever.

Watch the Light

Flashing, flickering, or bright lights are a common seizure trigger in children with Dravet syndrome. Sunglasses and a hat will shield your child's eyes from the sun when they're outside or in a brightly lit place.

Avoid anything that might have strobe lights, such as movies and video games, and places like haunted houses or plays with flashing lights.

Stick to Solid Colors for Clothing

Stripes and checked patterns can be a problem for children with Dravet syndrome. Dress your youngster in solid colors. Avoid having these patterns in your home on rugs, drapes, or decorations.

Manage Stress

A stressed or overexcited child is more likely to have a seizure. Teach your child mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to calm them down when they get upset. Try some kid-friendly apps that can guide your child through meditation practice.

Birthday or holiday parties may be too much for kids with this condition. Depending on how your child responds, you may want to keep them away from parties or limit the amount of time they spend there.

When you do go out to social gatherings, bring along medicines and other tools to manage a seizure if it happens.

Prep for Vaccines

Sometimes children run a fever right after they get vaccinated, which can cause a seizure. But that's no reason to skip your child's recommended vaccines. They protect against dangerous childhood diseases that are much more serious than any seizures they might trigger.

Ask your pediatrician if you can give your child a fever-reducing medicine before they get the vaccine and for 24 hours afterward to prevent a fever. Keep a close watch on your child every time they get vaccinated.

Find the Right Balance

While you want to help your child avoid seizures, you also don't want to keep them from every fun childhood experience. Work with your child's doctor to find the right balance. You may still be able to go out and do things, as long as you prepare for a possible seizure and know how to manage it if it does happen.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Cedars Sinai: "Photosensitive Seizures."

Epilepsia: "Comprehensive care of children with Dravet syndrome."

Epilepsy Foundation: "Dravet Syndrome."

Neurology: "Child Neurology: Dravet syndrome."

UCSF Beniot Children's Hospital: "Dravet Syndrome Treatment."

Understood: "8 Meditation Apps for Kids."

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