There are still "myths and misunderstandings" surrounding seizures in Ireland, according to a survey released to mark Purple Day, International Day of Epilepsy Awareness. 

It reveals four out of ten Irish people still incorrectly believe that you should put something in a person’s mouth during a seizure to prevent them from swallowing their tongue.

"Thankfully, seizure awareness in Ireland has improved in recent years but as this survey shows there are still myths and misunderstandings that persist such as interfering with someone’s mouth during a seizure. This Purple Day, we want to encourage everyone to spend just a few minutes on to understand a little more about what to do in this situation," said Peter Murphy, CEO of Epilepsy Ireland.

The colour purple has been associated with epilepsy throughout history and is internationally recognised as the colour that represents epilepsy awareness.

Purple Day was created in 2008 by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan from Canada after she was diagnosed with epilepsy and wanted to find a way to start a conversation about her condition.

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Epilepsy Ireland says around 40 well known Irish buildings, including the Mansion House, UCC and Kilkenny Castle,will show their support by "turning purple" today.

Epilepsy Ireland ambassador and Ireland Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt is also supporting the campaign: "Purple Day is an ideal opportunity to raise awareness for Epilepsy so I hope people all over Ireland will show their support on March 26", said the Ireland Rugby Coach. His son Luke has epilepsy.

Ireland Rugby Coach Joe Schmidt is supporting the campaign

What should you do if someone is having a seizure?

  • Stay calm and time the seizure
  • Protect/cushion the head
  • If possible turn the person on their side
  • Don’t restrain the person - unless they are in danger. 
  • Let the seizure run its course
  • Do not put anything in the mouth (you can wipe away saliva)