People with epilepsy may experience seizures from time to time. Some people experience them more frequently than others. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80 percent of people with epilepsy find significant improvement in their epileptic episodes with modern treatments.
Medicine isn’t the only aspect of treating epilepsy. Caring for people with seizures or caring for yourself doesn’t stop once you leave the doctor’s office or hospital. You also need to improve the safety of the places you frequent . This includes your home or office, or your child’s school.
Keep the following in mind if you or a loved one has seizures.
Whether you’re eating, sleeping, or entertaining, you spend the majority of your life in your home. Keep in mind these tips for making your home a safer place.
Replace glass. If you have a seizure and fall through the glass, you can cut yourself severely. Swap out the glass in doors and windows at or below waist level with safety glass or plastic. This includes shower doors.
Avoid taking baths. People who experience seizures have an increased risk of drowning in a bathtub during a seizure. A shower is much safer.
Don’t use electrical appliances near water. In the event of a seizure, you might drop the appliance into water and electrocute yourself.
Keep interior doors unlocked. Caregivers will have difficulty getting to you if you have a seizure behind a locked door.
Use caution with hot items. Avoid carrying pots of hot water or food. Ask for assistance when possible.
Serve yourself food from the stove, and make sure pan handles are facing toward the back of the stove. If you have a seizure while food is cooking, you may accidentally hit the handle and spill hot food on your body.
Cover fireplaces with break-proof glass. Avoid using space heaters that can be easily turned over.
Only use motorized power tools that have safety switches. Machines with safety switches will stop on their own if you have a seizure and let go of the switch.
Each job presents its own set of challenges if you experience seizures. While office jobs may not require as much precaution as factory jobs, these tips apply to any job:
Tell HR. Make sure you alert your manager, human resources representative, and workplace nurse to your condition. Assure them that your epilepsy is well-handled, and advise them what to do in the event of a seizure.
Designate an emergency contact. Inform a trusted colleague of your condition so they can help care for you in the event of a seizure.
Use caution. Wear appropriate protective gear at all times. Avoid jobs that put you in contact with open flames or sources of heat, including welding torches.
If your child has epilepsy, you should work with the school to make sure they’re well cared for during school hours. At the beginning of each school year, meet with the school nurse, your child’s teacher, and administers. Discuss your child’s needs and your concerns.
If the seizures are managed by medicine, your child may not need much assistance from the school. But it’s important you discuss what should happen in the event of a seizure and who should be contacted.
A few measures you can take at your child’s school include:
- providing a helmet for physical education classes and recess
- buying a medical alert bracelet for your child to wear at all times. Many companies now make kid-friendly varieties
- talking to the school’s counselor. Children with epilepsy are more likely to experience depression, low self-esteem, and bullying as a result of their condition. It’s important that your child’s school counselor develops a relationship with you and your child
Physical activity and exercise are very important to your overall health. You can maintain an active lifestyle with epilepsy. Just be sure to implement the following precautions in case you experience seizures.
Introduce yourself to gym staff. Let employees know you have epilepsy and may experience a seizure. Explain what they should do in the event of a seizure.
Wear a medical ID bracelet. If you have a seizure and you’re in an unfamiliar place, a medical alert bracelet will help emergency responders treat you appropriately.
Talk with your doctor before beginning any contact sports. If cleared by your doctor, wear appropriate safety gear. Helmets, guards, and protective gear are very important in contact sports, especially if you have epilepsy.
Alert a lifeguard. Only swim in a lifeguard-attended pool, and let the staff know that you experience seizures so they can be alert to a possible problem. Swim with a buddy if a lifeguard isn’t present.
Wear a helmet. You could fall and hit your head while biking, skiing, horseback riding, and hiking.
Be aware of the risks. Don’t participate in an activity that could be dangerous to you or another person if you were to have a moment of inattentiveness.