Seizures are rarely harmful to your body. They do not often cause lasting effects. However, it’s what happens during an epileptic episode that can be dangerous, even deadly.
The Danger of Falling
One of the most hazardous aspects of an epileptic episode is a person’s likelihood of falling down. Unfortunately, it’s hard to protect against a fall. Instead, it’s important to make the areas around you safer in the event that you do fall. Many falls just result in a few bumps and bruises, but some can be much worse. Keep the following things in mind so you can prevent potential injuries during an epileptic episode.
Making Furniture Safer
Even if you don't have a history of falling down during a seizure, you might fall one day. Preparing your home can protect you. Glass is never good if you’re prone to falling. Avoid glass-top tables. Use safety glass or plastic if you want to attain the look of glass without the risk. Move breakable decorative items to high shelves or bookcases. You should avoid purchasing sharp-cornered furniture. Purchase padded sleeves to put on sharp corners if you can’t replace the furniture.
Cushioned Floor Covers
When a person falls, their head may hit a hard floor. This could cause additional problems. Where possible, put down a cushioned floor cover. Extra thick carpet pads may also be a solution if your home is built on a concrete slab. Making the fall softer will help protect you or your loved one from injury during a fall.
Swimming and Bathing
According to the Mayo Clinic, people who have seizures are 15 to 19 times more likely to drown while swimming or bathing than people who do not have a history of seizures. Take showers instead of baths when possible. If you cannot, ask a family member to sit with you or near the bathroom.
Never swim alone. Always have a friend or family member with you when you enter the pool, lake, or ocean.
Glass Doors and Windows
Glass doors and windows should be replaced. There is risk of falling through them during a seizure, and broken glass can cause serious injury. You don’t have to board up your home, however. You can replace typical glass panes with safety glass or plastic.
Open fireplaces are beautiful, but for a person with epilepsy, they spell danger. If a person loses consciousness near a fireplace, they may accidentally burn themselves while unconscious. To keep this from happening, place a screen over the fireplace when it is in use.
Freestanding heaters can be dangerous, too. If you fall during a seizure and knock one of these heaters over, you may start a fire. It may be best to avoid having freestanding heaters in your household.
Hot pots are particularly dangerous if you’re prone to epileptic episodes. One way to prevent spilling hot liquid or foods when you’re cooking is by turning pot handles toward the back of the stove. That way, if you fall, you are less likely to catch the pot handle and get burned during a seizure.
Also, don’t carry big plates of hot food to the table. Ask someone to carry them for you, or have people serve themselves from the stovetop. This reduces your risk of burning yourself in the event of a fall.
Locking a bedroom or bathroom door can prevent someone from getting to you if you begin having a seizure. Avoid locking doors behind you unless someone is on the same side of the door as you. Also, try to prevent blocking a door. If you begin having a seizure, no one can get to you if a door to your room is blocked or barricaded in any way.
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
All of these steps may seem troublesome. However, if you’ve ever experienced a seizure and been injured as a result, you know just how important it is to protect against injury the best you can. Make changes as you can afford them. Work with your spouse, children, and all people who live in your house to create the safest environment possible. A few safeguards now can prevent big problems later.