Tips for a Seizure Smart Summer
With summer quickly coming upon us, it is important to consider some seasonal health and safety issues that people with epilepsy may have.
For this months blog post we are revisitng a popular article that was previously published on our blog. This includes tips for some traditional summertime activities and issues.
It is important to note that safety considerations may vary depending upon seizure type, frequency, severity, triggers, and individual abilities. The right support, safety precautions, and advance planning will help ensure that summer activities are safe - and fun!
Being in water requires safety precautions – particularly if someone has epilepsy. Swim with someone who is familiar with your needs and is strong enough to help you if you have a seizure (e.g. be able to hold your head out of the water). It is preferable to swim in an area that is supervised by a lifeguard who has been informed about your condition. You can wear a brightly coloured swimming cap or hat so you can be easily identified. Other safety precautions include wearing a life jacket or floatation device. Avoid swimming when you are fatigued or feeling unwell. Note: lakes, oceans, and streams can be more dangerous to swim in due to the unpredictability of the depth and currents. Click here for more tips on swim safety.
Taking a summer vacation is a ritual for many people. It is important to plan in advance about how to manage seizures while traveling or in unfamiliar surroundings. This includes accessing emergency medical services, adjusting dosage times for medications in different time zones, and knowing the regulations about transporting medications (particularly when bringing liquid formulations on a plane). Disruption in sleep schedules, travel insurance, different driving regulations, and access to any special accommodations should also be investigated and prepared for in advance. Click here for tips for traveling with epilepsy.
If seizures are triggered by bright or flickering lights, light reflecting off splashing water or through trees in a moving vehicle could potentially trigger a seizure. Blue tinted polarized sunglasses worn during outdoor activities may help minimize this risk. Click here for tips on how to manage photosensitivity.
Some people with epilepsy may be sensitive to heat. Stay cool by limiting sun exposure and by dressing in lightweight and light coloured clothing. Another tip is to spend more time in facilities that have air conditioning, such as libraries or malls. For extreme heat intolerance a cooling vest may help.
Be sure to drink more water to keep hydrated, keep a regular sleep schedule, and take medications on time and as prescribed. Take breaks when you feel you need them and pace yourself. And of course, don’t forget the sunscreen!