Epilepsy: General Safety and Lifestyle

  • Use a shower instead of having a bath if you can – it’s safer because the water runs away.
  • If your shower is over the bath make sure you have removed the plug.
  • Let someone know you’re taking a shower or a bath. You could ask them to stay in the bathroom with you, or to wait outside the door, so they can hear if you have a seizure.
  • Bathroom doors should not be locked.
  • When you go swimming, ensure you are with a sensible adult who knows you have epilepsy, or tell the lifeguard this before you enter the water.
  • Further information can be found on safety around water here: Sports and leisure - Epilepsy Action

  • If you are out alone, stay on well-lit roads where possible and always cross at designated crossings.
  • When cycling, or on a scooter wear a well -fitting helmet, and other protective equipment (such as knee pads) as appropriate.

  • If you have seizures at night, choose a bed that is lower to the floor. Put cushions or a thick rug around the bed
  • Keep your bed away from walls, cupboards with sharp edges and radiators to help prevent injuries if you have a seizure in bed.
  • Keep the bed free of clutter – particularly wires (charging leads, headphones etc) to prevent injury in the event of a nocturnal seizure.

 

We are not able to recommend any overnight monitoring, but some people do choose to purchase video monitors, or anti-suffocation pillows. Many people opt for audio monitors so that they would hear any seizures occurring.

Anti-suffocation pillows have small holes that may help you breathe more easily if you are lying face down during a seizure. These may be safer than ordinary pillows. But we don’t have any research to prove this or that they can reduce the risk of SUDEP.

Epilepsy Action has more information about where to buy anti-suffocation pillows.

Some safety issues may not be relevant to you, or you may have your own ideas about what would make situations safer for you. Some suggestions to help you think about your safety at home.

Safety | Epilepsy Society

Some things make seizures more likely for some people with epilepsy. These are often called ‘triggers’.

Triggers don’t cause epilepsy, but they make seizures more likely. Identifying and avoiding your triggers, where possible, could help you to have fewer seizures.

COMMON TRIGGERS

  • Medication – missing doses or stopping taking your medication suddenly.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Being unwell with high temperature, or vomiting.
  • Stress (such as exams, arguments, difficult relationships), or excitement (such as birthdays, holidays, big events).
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Missing meals or being hungry or dehydrated.
  • Monthly periods (Some people with epilepsy find that they are more likely to have seizures at certain times of their menstrual cycle (periods).
  • Flashing or flickering lights (Around 3 in 100 people with epilepsy have seizures that are triggered by flashing or flickering lights, or some patterns. This is called photosensitive epilepsy).

There are some things you can do to avoid your seizure triggers. These include:

Remembering to always take your epilepsy medicine.

  • Having a good sleep routine
  • Trying to reduce your stress.
  • Limiting how much alcohol you drink
  • Avoiding flashing or flickering lights (if you have photosensitive epilepsy)
  • Talking to your doctor if your seizures follow a pattern connected to your menstrual cycle.
  • Eating regular meals

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Having the opportunity to take part in sport and leisure activities is important for everyone, including people with epilepsy.

For some people with epilepsy, taking part in sport and leisure activities can really benefit their epilepsy.

A very small number of people with epilepsy find that doing strenuous exercise increases their likelihood of having seizures.

Want to know more?  Sports and leisure - Epilepsy Action

  • You can find information about your current medication at the top of your latest clinic letter.
  • For information on your medication, you can visit www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk
  • It is important to know that some medications can interact with your epilepsy medication, including Some hormonal contraception (females only),
  • Please make sure you tell your consultant/specialist nurse/ your GP about any other medications you are taking – including herbal supplements or vitamins.

Medical ID jewellery can alert medical staff to the fact you have a medical condition. Some types of ID jewellery can be engraved with the information of your choice, while some include space for paper inserts.

Having a medical ID means if you are out and had a seizure (or other medical problems) those around you including paramedics will know you have
epilepsy, and can contact your parent/carer. 

Epilepsy medical ID products - Epilepsy Action

Some phones have a feature allowing people to access the medical information of your choice from the phone’s lock screen, without having to unlock the phone. This allows anyone helping you in an emergency to check your medical information.

For other types of phone, you may need to download an app. To find one that works on your phone, search for ‘medical ID app’ in your phone’s app store.

You must tell the driving agency about your epilepsy when you apply to get a provisional licence.

You’ll need to meet the same medical standards as for a full driving licence.

Driving rules for epilepsy - Epilepsy Action