Cool Gel ’n Cap, the adorable plush hat developed in Elma, N.Y., that holds a cold or warm gel pack in place to soothe bumps, bruises, earaches and headaches, has found another unique use. And it has been an absolute blessing for one Ohio family.
Six-year-old Breanna Heck of Tiffin, Ohio, suffered her first seizure at just three months of age and was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome at the age of three. Dravet Syndrome, according to the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, is a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy. Initial seizures are most often prolonged events and in the second year of life other seizure types begin to emerge. Development remains on track initially, with plateaus and a progressive decline typically beginning in the second year of life.
To complicate matters further, Breanna does not sweat enough to cool herself down naturally, which can lead to more seizures. In fact, 90 percent of her seizures are the result of overheating due to environmental factors or physical exertion, according to her mother, Jenny Heck.
“It affects everything we do,” said Jenny. “It is extremely hard to keep a little one from playing too hard, though she is starting to understand a bit more. But when it's as hot as it has been (this summer), it’s near impossible!”
On day while searching for cooling products for children on the Internet, Jenny discovered the Cool Gel ’n Cap website — www.coolgelncap.net.
“There are very few (cooling products) out there and it was very affordable so I thought we would try it,” Jenny said of Cool Gel ’n Cap. “A blessing we have gotten is that Breanna can tell you when she’s getting too hot and doesn’t feel right. And most of the time when she tells us that, we get her cooling hat and vest on her and make her drink cold liquids, and we can actually prevent her from having a seizure, which is huge! It gives us a little control.
“We use the hat about every week, sometimes multiple times, and we use the gel packs daily. They are the perfect size for her to hold on her cheeks or neck to help for a quick cool down. We carry her gel packs and hat in her emergency bag everywhere we go. There are other types of cooling hats out there that work by sweat evaporation, but since she doesn’t sweat they won’t work for her.”
The inventor of Cool Gel ’n Cap, Timothy Panicali, also knows first-hand how beneficial his product can be for the parents of young children. He developed it after his own son bumped his head and starting crying uncontrollably. Panicali discovered that a makeshift ice pack inside one of his son’s hats relieved the pain and stopped the crying.
For more information on Cool Gel ‘n Cap, please visit www.coolgelncap.net. For information on Dravet Syndrome, visit www.dravetfoundation.org.