International Epilepsy Day is an annual event celebrated on the second Monday of February, by over 120 countries around the world. The day is observed to raise awareness about epilepsy, a chronic disease affecting the brain and causing sudden attacks and seizures. On this day people come together to share the problems faced by epilepsy patients, their relatives, and caretakers. People discuss the social and medical aspects of the disease with doctors, psychologists, and social workers. The events are initiated by the International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) in collaboration with the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE).
International Epilepsy Day 2020
International Epilepsy Day 2020 will be celebrated on Tuesday, 11th February 2020.
Events around the world were organized to raise awareness about epilepsy and promote research and training. Counseling aid was provided to the patients their guardians and caretakers.
People also shared their views, experiences and raised their concern on various social media account like twitter, facebook etc.
International Epilepsy Day – History
The announcement to celebrate an International Epilepsy Day was made on 4th January 2015 by the International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and the first International Epilepsy Day was celebrated on Monday, 9th February 2015.
The event was a joint initiative by the IBE and International League against Epilepsy (ILAE), in collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and the Economic and Social Council of the United States (ECOSOC).
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a kind of neurological disorder which causes sudden epileptic seizures. The period of seizures could be brief or long and cause vigorous shaking. The seizure in most of the cases is almost instantaneous and could result in physical injury. Moreover, the seizures have a tendency to reappear.
What Causes Epilepsy?
There could be several factors that could trigger epileptic seizures in an otherwise normal human being. Some of them are stroke, brain injury, and infection in the brain, brain tumour or birth defects. In epilepsy, the cerebral cortex of the brain witnesses excessive and abnormal neuronal activity.
Symptoms of Epilepsy
Some of the common symptoms of epilepsy are as listed below-
- Staring continuously at one place.
- Short confusion.
- Temporary unconsciousness
- Experiencing fear and anxiety.
Significance of the International Epilepsy Day
Epilepsy is the most common serious neurological disorders which affects over 39 million people around the world. The disease affects 1% of population till the age of 20 and 3%, till the age of 75. Around 80% of the epilepsy patients are found in the developing world.
Statistics reveal that nearly 40% of those living in developed countries are affected by epilepsy and don’t receive appropriate treatment. Also, over 70% of those living in poor countries don’t have access to proper medical care.
There is a lack of research in the field of epilepsy and there had been no considerable research for predicting the occurrence of epilepsy, in the gone decade. Traditional method for predicting epilepsy includes electroencephalogram (EEG), which is a cumbersome medical procedure.
The attack of epilepsy is almost sudden, while one is engaged in every day usual activities, making the forecast through EEG almost redundant. There is a need for more research so that new and fast means of forecasting the epileptic seizures could be devised, to prevent physical injury and other consequential damages.
Also, there is a kind of social trauma associated with the disease, arising mostly due to lack of knowledge and awareness. People fear epilepsy and some even believe it to be contaminable, which is not true. Person with a history of seizure is often subjected to social isolation of a kind, fearing the spread of the disease to other healthy individuals. This constitutes a great mental fatigue for the affected and there is an immediate need to make people more aware of the disease and to be sympathetic towards the patients.
Also, a majority of people don’t know what should be done if they or someone they know is having a seizure. If proper post seizure care isn’t provided to a patient that it could lead to some serious complications. Therefore, for all the above mentioned purposes, there is a need to observe the international epilepsy day.
How is International Epilepsy Day Celebrated?
International Epilepsy Day is celebrated in over 120 countries with IBE (International Bureau of Epilepsy) and ILAE (International League against Epilepsy) representation.
Some of the countries which remain a part of the celebrations are – Austria, Argentina, India, Indonesia, Dubai, Egypt, Myanmar, Peru, Nepal and Sudan among others.
People from around the world share their personal stories on the epilepsy.org website to make others aware of the causes, affects and treatments of the disease.
Free seminars for the people with epilepsy and their guardians and care takers are held at many places around the world.
International Epilepsy Day 2020
The International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and the International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) invites all age groups people into the International Art competition to submit artwork related to theme “Friendship and Inclusion”. The submitted art will be accepted in the format of paintings, digital paintings and drawings.
The submission categories are divided into three groups as given under-
- Under 8 years of age (as of December 31, 2019)
- Between 8 to 15 years of age (as of December 31, 2019)
- 16 years of age or older (as of December 31, 2019)
How to Celebrate International Epilepsy Day?
International Epilepsy Day in 2020 will be celebrated on Monday, 10th February. There are a number of ways by which you can be a part of the celebrations and spread the awareness.
1) Join Social Media Campaigns
You could join #EpilepsyDay to join the awareness campaign on social networking site Twitter. Like ways you can join several such campaigns on other social networks. Post your photo holding the sign of International Epilepsy Day and tag @IntEpilepsyDay and @EpilepsyFdn, from your twitter account. You can also use the #EpilepsyDay badge on your social media profile.
2) Raise Fund on Facebook
You can create a Facebook fund raiser to support the International Epilepsy Day campaign and the Epilepsy Foundation. This way you can support the mission in helping people to overcome the challenges of surviving with epilepsy. You can also help people to accelerate the therapies and help prevent the seizures. To create your facebook fund raiser you just have to follow the directions on – facebook.com/help/990087377765844 and select either the Epilepsy Foundation of America or your local Epilepsy Foundation as your charitable organization.
3) Attend an Event
Whether you live in a poor, developing or a developed nation, there has to be some event going on someplace in your state or country. Find one and be a part of the celebration in whatever way you can. It is very easy to find such ongoing events through your social media accounts. Any of such events are well covered by media and are also well talked about on social media.
4) Meet Campi
Campi is a cute little seahorse who is the mascot of International epilepsy Day. Incidentally, Campi also has epilepsy though he his kind, gentle and a little shy. Watch a video of Campi attending a class with his friends Cala and Tuno and teacher Mr. W Hale. The videos depict Campi going to the doctor due to some recent health issues. The videos are educational and especially suited for young children to raise awareness about Epilepsy.
5) Share Your Story
If you have suffered from epilepsy yourself or you know someone who is suffering from it, share your story with others on social media and other medium. This way you would raise awareness about the disease and spread some words of wisdom for someone else. You can share your story on epilepsy.com forum for International Epilepsy Day.
Themes of International Epilepsy Day
Theme of International Epilepsy Day 2020 is – “Friendship and Inclusion”.
Theme of International Epilepsy Day 2019 was – No Theme.
Theme of International Epilepsy Day 2018 was – “This is Me”.
Theme of International Epilepsy Day 2017 was – “Putting Epilepsy in the Picture”.
Theme of International Epilepsy Day 2016 was – “Yes, I can!”.
Theme of International Epilepsy Day 2015 was – “Launch of the day and #EpilepsyDay”.