wikiHow to Prevent Epilepsy

Two Methods:Preventing the Onset of EpilepsyMinimizing the Occurrence of Seizures Among Epileptics

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects the nervous system. Epilepsy causes reoccurring seizures that often happen randomly, with little warning. The condition can be caused by many factors, including head trauma, stroke, infections or genetic disorders. Some of these causes are preventable, others are not. Once one develops epilepsy it can generally, though not always, be managed so as to eliminate or reduce the frequency of seizures.[1]

Method 1
Preventing the Onset of Epilepsy

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    Obtain proper prenatal care. Expectant mothers can help prevent their children from developing epilepsy by receiving professional prenatal care. Talk to a doctor about supplements and an appropriate diet. Quit smoking, and refrain from drinking alcohol during gestation or while breast feeding.[2]
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    Remain current with your vacations. Brain infections are one of the more common causes for the development of epilepsy among children.[3] Proper vaccination can often prevent the contraction of diseases that cause epilepsy.[4]
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    Follow food safety guidelines. Globally, cysticercosis is the most common cause of epilepsy.[5] This infection is passed along in the eggs of intestinal tapeworms. To prevent the contraction of tapeworms, pork should be cooked thoroughly. To prevent consumption of the eggs, a person who might have intestinal tapeworms should thoroughly wash hands before touching food.[6]
    • This is a much less common cause of epilepsy in developed nations.
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    Avoid lead poisoning. Lead poisoning can often produce seizures and can negatively affect a child's psychological development. Everyone should take precautions to prevent contact with lead-based products.[7] Be particularly careful to protect young children from lead-based paint.
    • Most houses build before 1978 will contain some lead-based paint. If your house was constructed before then, contact your local health department about testing the paint. Keep your children away from peeling paint. Wash children’s toys and hands frequently. Mop floors and wipe windows regularly to prevent exposure to lead dust.[8]
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    Refrain from substance abuse. Substance abuse, particularly alcoholism, is a major cause of epilepsy. More than 5,000 people per year suffer from alcohol induced seizures. These incidents are associated with severe abuse and addiction.[9]
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    Prevent strokes. The elderly are particularly susceptible to strokes that can cause the onset of epilepsy.[10] Your risk of strokes, however, can be managed with healthier living habits, especially dietary changes.
    • To keep your cholesterol low, eat more fruits and vegetables. Limit how much salt you consume. Restrict your consumption of saturated fats and trans fats. [11] Major sources of saturated fats include cheese, pizza, dairy desserts, milk, meat, butter, and chips.[12]
    • Adults should get at least two and half hours of moderately intense exercise, like biking or jogging, per week.[13]
    • Stop smoking and limit how much alcohol you drink. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, women one.[14]
    • Have a doctor check your cholesterol regularly and take any medication she prescribes for high blood pressure.[15]
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    Wear a helmet. Head injuries are a major cause of epilepsy. Always wear a helmet during high risk activities like riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, or ATV, playing contact sports, skating, and horseback riding.[16]
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    Drive safely. To prevent head injuries you should also avoid accidents by following road safety rules, driving sober, and staying off your phone while driving. Wear a seat belt and put your child in a safety seat.[17]
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    Improve home safety. You should also remove factors from the house likely to cause head injuries. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and bathroom floors. Install grab bars in the shower or tub. Make sure you have handrails on stairways. Provide adequate lighting throughout the home. Install window guards to prevent children from falling out of open windows. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when small children are in the home.[18]
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    Remember that sometimes there is nothing you can do. Many children are born with a brain structure that causes seizures. About a third of children on the autism spectrum naturally have seizures. Some medical triggers for epilepsy, like brain tumors, cannot be prevented. In the majority of cases, there is not even an observable cause for the condition. Simply put, there is often nothing you can do to prevent epilepsy.[19]
    • Those with close relatives who are epileptic, including parents and siblings, are more likely to suffer from the condition.[20]

Method 2
Minimizing the Occurrence of Seizures Among Epileptics

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    Visit a doctor for medication. About 47% of epileptics will eliminate seizures after being prescribed an anti-epileptic drug. After some experimentation to determine which drug works best for the person, that number rises to 70%. In short, medical intervention is generally effective, over time, at eliminating seizures.[21]
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    Visit a doctor for vagus nerve stimulation. If medicine does not work, vagus nerve stimulation can reduce the frequency of seizures by as much as 50% after two years of treatment.[22] In this procedure a pulse generator is surgically implanted in the chest so as to send signals to the brain. You will be given a device to temporarily turn off signals when exercising or doing a public performance.[23]
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    Begin the ketogenic diet. Doctors may prescribe the ketogenic diet to children who are not responding to medication. In this diet, you will severely limit the number of carbohydrates you consume. Instead you will derive your energy from consuming large amounts of fat. While the procedure has been shown to be effective, the diet would be hard for an adult to maintain.[24]
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    Brace yourself for oncoming seizures. It is common to feel annoyed or elated for hours prior to a major seizure. With experience you might be able to recognize an “aura” before the onset of a seizure. When you feel the symptoms, sit down so that you do not hurt yourself by falling. In some cases, you can stop the seizure by responding to your symptoms.
    • If you inexplicably detect a strong odor or taste, this may be a sign of an oncoming seizure. These seizures can sometimes be fought off by sniffing a strong odor, like garlic.
    • The sudden onset of depression, irritability, or headache can also be the sign of an impending seizure. In this case, contact your doctor immediately and ask if you can take an extra dose of medication to stave off the seizure.
    • Uncontrollable twitching is a strong indication of an impending seizure. When this happens, squeeze the muscles around the twitching to try to contain it. This will sometimes prevent the seizure.[25]
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    Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Certain lifestyle changes are important to either eliminating seizures or minimizing their effects. You should refrain from alcohol and other recreation substances. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Consume Vitamin D and exercise to minimize the risk of bone fracture during seizures.
    • In some cases you might also want to wear a protective helmet to prevent head injuries.[26]
    • You can try to limit stress, often a precipitating factor for seizures, by employing yoga or meditation. Minimize factors in your life that cause stress.
    • Flashing lights can cause seizures. Limit exposure to video games, big screen action flicks, and holiday lights.[27]


  • Check your child's playground. The safest surface will be made of a shock-absorbent material, such as shredded rubber, wood chips, or sand.
  • Never leave a young child unattended on a playground.
  • When buying a helmet, make sure it fits properly and that it is the right helmet for a specific use. For example, motorcycle helmet and a bicycle helmet are not the same.


  • Epilepsy can be fatal. Every year 1 out of every 150 people with uncontrolled epilepsy die from Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).[28]

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Article Info

Categories: Neurological Disorders