6 Epilepsy Myths

Allison Tsai Apr 23rd, 2014 (updated Oct 31st, 2014)
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Epilepsy is contagious
Epilepsy is contagious

It’s impossible to catch epilepsy from another person.

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You can swallow your tongue during a seizure
You can swallow your tongue during a seizure

Although it’s commonly believed that a person having a seizure can swallow their tongue and choke, it is actually physically impossible for this to happen.

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You should force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure
You should force something into the mouth of someone having a seizure

This is a very bad idea, because it could actually harm the person having the seizure. It can chip a tooth, cut their gums or even break their jaw. The correct thing to do is gently roll them to one side and put something soft under their head. Make sure they are breathing properly as well.

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It’s safer to restrain someone while they have a seizure
It’s safer to restrain someone while they have a seizure

Never restrain someone having a seizure. They typically only last a few seconds or a few minutes, and it will end on its own.

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Only children have epilepsy
Only children have epilepsy

Epilepsy can affect people at any age. Seizure onset starts in people over age 65 as often as it does in children under 10. Though, seizures in seniors often occur due to other health problems, such as stroke and heart disease.

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People with epilepsy can’t work
People with epilepsy can’t work

Although some people with severe or frequent seizures may not be able to work traditional jobs, many people with epilepsy work in business, government, the arts and a variety of other professions. Sometimes stress can be a trigger for epilepsy, but learning coping mechanisms to manage stress at work can be achieved.