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The Importance of a Seizure Action Plan



In 2015, an estimated 3.4 million people in the United States had epilepsy, a brain disease that causes seizures. These include 470,000 children with epilepsy and 3 million adults.

There are many types of epilepsy, ranging from mild to severe. Some people can go through a year without seizures, while others have multiple seizures a day. Some seizures last only a few seconds, others several minutes or longer.

A seizure can happen at any time – and learning how to manage a seizure can save lives.

To help community members manage a seizure, experts encourage people with epilepsy to develop and share a seizure action plan.

“A seizure action plan is a document that provides an outline of how to respond during a seizure,” Mary Anne Meskis, executive director of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation (DSF), told Healthline. “There are guidelines to help the layperson recognize that a seizure is occurring and what steps to take to protect the person who is having the seizure.”

DSF is a non-profit that raises funds and raises awareness of Dravet syndrome, a type of severe epilepsy that causes frequent and often persistent seizures.

Healthline also reached out to the mother of a child with Dravet Syndrome to learn the difference a seizure action plan can make in the lives of people with epilepsy.

Jenny Gallo’s daughter Lena was only 8 1/2 months old when she had her first seizure. When she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome.

Gallo has since worked hard to educate members of her family and the wider community about Lena’s condition and treatment needs.

“Everyone knew she was having seizures,” Gallo said, but the family did not have a written seizure action plan for years.

That changed when Lena was 11 years old. A new nurse at her school asked Gallo for a written plan.

“The school never told me they needed one,” recalls Gallo. “The doctor never told me I should have one. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. “

The nurse sent Gallo a one-page form to fill out that outlined Lena’s emergency protocol for a seizure. Gallo worked with her daughter’s doctor to fill out this form and later added a second page to her daughter’s seizure action plan to help facilitate day-to-day management of her child’s condition at school.

A seizure action plan can help family members, school staff, and other caregivers learn when and how to give emergency medication that can help stop a prolonged seizure or seizure buildup. This reduces the risk of potentially life-threatening complications.

Knowing that a seizure action plan is in place can also give caregivers some peace of mind.

“Having clear written instructions will help parents calm down,” said Gallo. “As long as people follow these instructions, you know your child is in good hands.”

DSF encourages parents of children with epilepsy to distribute a copy of their Seizure Action Plan to all caregivers their child spends time with. This contains:

  • family members
  • baby-sitter
  • School staff

“Every time someone has a seizure there is a lot of stress – especially if this is the first time the person intervening has a seizure,” Meskis said.

“The beauty of a seizure action plan is that everyone knows what to do in a seizure emergency. It describes everything very neatly and succinctly for them to help them make the right decisions to keep the patient safe, ”she continued.

Even parents can benefit from having a seizure action plan in front of them when handling a seizure emergency. And sharing the plan with others can help keep your child safe when they are not there to manage the seizure themselves.

“You can’t always be there,” said Gallo, “and when your child gets older and you learn to live with this disease, you let go of your vigilance a little more, you let it do it a little more, you let them go longer to school – so it is really important that everyone has this plan. “

Even emergency responders and other health professionals can benefit from having a person’s seizure action plan when dealing with a seizure.

“This plan should travel with the person to the emergency room in an emergency,” Meskis said. “We want to make sure that the emergency services have everything they need quickly to be able to react to the situation.”

Gallo has learned from experience the usefulness of having a seizure action plan or other written notes about a child’s epileptic illness, even when surrounded by medical experts.

“I’ve been to the emergency room many times and my daughter is packing and a team of doctors asks, ‘What medication is she taking? What’s this? What is that? ‘”Said Gallo.

“And I just got out a piece of paper with all the stuff written on it. I can give you all the information you need, ”she continued.

An anti-epileptic drug that works well in one person with epilepsy may not work well in another. In some cases, it can even make the seizure worse or cause other serious side effects.

A seizure action plan can help healthcare professionals decide which medications to give or avoid during a seizure when the person’s own doctor is not there to guide their response.

“The neurologist you love won’t always be there in an emergency, so it’s like dropping your doctor’s letters and saying, ‘Here!'” Gallo said.

Whether you or your child were recently diagnosed with epilepsy or have lived with the condition for years, devising a seizure action plan can help you manage it.

To raise awareness of seizure action plans and provide resources to help families develop them, DSF has partnered with the Lennox Gastaut Syndrome Foundation and the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Alliance to create the Coalition for the Seizure Action Plan form.

“We almost wanted a one-stop shop where families can learn what a seizure action plan is, what it should contain, examples of the plans, and other resources and educational information to help them develop one,” Meskis said.

The Coalition of Seizure Action Plan has several seizure action plans available for download on its website.

Each plan includes a concise emergency protocol that can be tailored to a person’s specific condition and treatment needs. You or your loved one’s doctor or caregiver can fill out the plan.

DSF encourages people with epilepsy or their caregivers to periodically review their plan and update it as necessary, even if changes are made to their prescribed treatment plan.

“We encourage families to review their plans at least annually to see if any updates are needed,” Meskis said. “We often say pick a date, be it the child’s birthday or back to school – something to remind them to take a quick look at.”

Seizure action plans are just part of a larger strategy that people with epilepsy and their caregivers can use to educate others about their condition.

“If your child has epilepsy, make sure you have appropriate literature to share with your staff so that they understand a little more about the disease in addition to the seizure action plan,” said Meskis.

Parents of children with epilepsy can also work with their child’s doctor and school to develop a broader management or placement plan to ensure their child’s needs are met.

These needs often go beyond emergency treatment for seizures and include daily management of their condition and need for psychosocial support.

“Most parents in the Dravet community know we have to be advocates,” said Gallo.

A seizure action plan can help people with epilepsy get the care they need during a seizure – not only promoting their safety, but also peace of mind for them and their caregivers.

“I think a seizure action plan is really taking off a bit,” said Gallo.

Meskis encourages parents of children with epilepsy and other community members to make seizure plans part of their strategy for treating the condition.

“Make sure you really understand the role of the seizure action plan in your child’s medical care – and make sure you spread the word so that it is understood outside of the epilepsy community,” Meskis said .

“Perhaps from your child’s seizure schedule they are learning some proactive steps they can take to protect your child or someone else who is having a seizure,” she added.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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