International Epilepsy Day - 8 February 2021

We are supporting International Epilepsy Day, and have collaborated with Epilepsy Society, the UK's leading charity for epilepsy research and support, to raise awareness of this hidden health condition. Little is known about the neurological condition, even though there are over half a million people with epilepsy in the UK - that’s around 1 in 100 people! Worldwide over 50 million people have epilepsy making it one of the most common neurological conditions globally.

Our campaign seeks to inform about some of the key facts, myth bust and provide some advice on how to help a person having a seizure.

“We are really thrilled to be collaborating with Hidden Disabilities Sunflower to share important information around seizure first aid. Our key message is that it is actually very easy to support someone during a seizure. Not all seizures are convulsive, but if you see someone having a seizure where they fall shaking to the ground, then follow our three simple steps, the three Cs: stay Calm, Cushion their head, Call 999.”
Clare Pelham, Chief Executive Epilepsy Society


Our campaign

Every day from 1 February to 8 February, you can find out more about epilepsy as we share informative posts with you on social media.

We have also produced a new Epilepsy Sunflower card with key messaging around seizure first aid so the wearer can discreetly highlight their hidden disability and the type of support that they may need. With every order we are sending a free Epilepsy Society Calm, Cushion, Call ID card*, that can be attached to a lanyard so that in the event of a seizure the correct care can be given. Check it out in our store here.

You can also enter our Sunflower Hidden Words competition for a chance to win a £50 M&S voucher. Find out more here.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a serious neurological condition that affects the brain and nervous system. Epileptic seizures are caused by a disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain and can affect people of any age or race. There are different types of seizures and the causes and effects vary.

Types of epilepsy

Absence seizures


Absence seizures are more common in children than adults and can happen very frequently. During an absence a person becomes unconscious for a short time. They may look blank and stare, or their eyelids might flutter. They will not respond to what is happening around them. If they are walking they may carry on walking but will not be aware of what they are doing.

To find out more about absence seizures, click here

Focal aware seizures


In focal aware seizures (FAS), previously called simple partial seizures, the person is conscious (aware and alert) and will usually know that something is happening and will remember the seizure afterwards.

To find out more about focal aware seizures, click here

Focal impaired awareness seizures


Focal impaired awareness seizures (FIAS) affect a bigger part of one hemisphere (side) of the brain than focal aware seizures. This seizure was previously called complex partial seizures.

To find out more about focal aware seizures, click here

Myoclonic seizures


Myoclonic means ‘muscle jerk’. Muscle jerks are not always due to epilepsy (for example, some people have them as they fall asleep). Myoclonic seizures are brief but can happen in clusters (many happening close together in time) and often happen shortly after waking.

To find out more about myoclonic seizures, click here

Tonic and atonic seizures


In an atonic seizure (or 'drop attack') the person’s muscles suddenly relax and they become floppy. If they are standing they often fall, usually forwards, and may injure the front of their head or face. Like tonic seizures, atonic seizures tend to be brief and happen without warning. With both tonic and atonic seizures people usually recover quickly, apart from possible injuries.

To find out more about tonic and atonic seizures, click here

Tonic clonic seizures


These are the seizures that most people think of as epilepsy. The person becomes unconscious their body goes stiff and if they are standing up they usually fall backwards. They jerk and shake as their muscles relax and tighten rhythmically.

To find out more about tonic clonic seizures, click here.



First aid

Epilepsy is a hidden condition until someone has a seizure. Some seizures are obvious, and others are not. Don’t assume they are drunk, and gently guide them away from any danger. Please be kind, reassure them and stay with them until they recover.

Remember the 3 'C's

1. Calm - Stay Calm

2. Cushion - Cushion their head

3. Call - Call 999



So, what do we know?

There are over 40 different types of seizures.  

1 in 20
people will experience a one-off seizure

people in the UK are diagnosed every day

1 in 3
people cannot gain control with medication



What are the triggers?

A common misconception is that flashing lights are the main cause of seizures. In fact that only 3% of people with epilepsy are photosensitive. Other triggers include stress, music, alcohol and disruptive sleep.

For support call the Epilepsy Society on 01494 601 400 or email [email protected]