For Your Safety

For Your Safety

Seizure Safety

The following tips will list the important things to balance your safety with the way to live your life with epilepsy. Some people with epilepsy may not make the changes below. Use this list to make your home and surroundings as safe as possible during or following a seizure.

Your family needs to be trained about your condition-epilepsy. These are the facts that everyone in your life should know:

  1. What to expect when you have a seizure
  2. How to provide seizure first aid
  3. What to do to prevent choking during seizure
  4. When to call 911 or  emergency help
  5. If there is any rescue medication which can be provided by them during seizure such as diastat and wiping the magnet on your VNS during seizure

These  things increase the risk of a seizure, therefore you should avoid them:

  • Missed medications
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol
  • Using illicit drugs
  • Playing videogames or exposing to flashing lights if you have photosensitive epilepsy
  • Emotional stress
  • Missed meals

At home:

  • Should not have open fires.
  • Have a soft, easy-to-clean carpet.
  • Put safety glass in windows and doors.
  • Try to use furniture with rounded corners.
  • Avoid smoking or lighting fires when you’re by yourself.
  • In bedrooms you should have a wide, low bed without top banks.
  • Place night stands away from the bed.
  • If you wander during seizures, make sure that outside doors are securely locked.
  • In the kitchen try to limit use of electrical appliances only when someone else is in the house.
  • Use a microwave if possible.
  • Try not to use stove but if you will, use the back burners of the stove.
  • Avoid carrying hot pans; serve hot food directly from the stove onto plates.
  • Wear rubber gloves when handling knives or washing dishes or glasses in the sink and use pre-cut foods to limit the need for sharp knives
  • Use plastic cups, dishes, and containers rather than breakable glass
  • Inform  a family member or housemate before you take a bath or  shower.
  • Don’t lock the bathroom door instead hang an Occupied sign outside the door handle.
  • Set the water temperature low so you won’t be hurt if you have a seizure while the water is running.
  • Showers are generally safer than baths.

At work:

  • You should inform and educate your co-workers about your condition-epilepsy and how to provide first aid for seizures.
  • Avoid at being at height or near open places where fall can cause injury or drowning yourself.
  • Avoid using heavy machinery.
  • Wear protective clothing and helmet as needed.
  • Try to avoid working long hours since sleep deprivation and physical stress can trigger your seizures.

Out and about:

  • Carry only as many medications with you as you will need, and 2 spare doses.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet to let emergency workers and others know that you have epilepsy.
  • Don’t isolate yourself without social life due to fear of having a seizure outside.

Sports:

  • Exercise on soft surfaces.
  • Wear a life vest when you are close to water.
  • Avoid swimming alone without supervision.
  • Wear head protection when playing contact sports or when there is a risk of falling.
  • When riding a bicycle or rollerblading, wear a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads.
  • Avoid high traffic areas; while riding or skating.

Driving and Epilepsy

For you to be able to drive, your seizures should be well controlled. Every state has different rules administered by Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV). You should have seizure freedom to be able to drive. The duration of seizure freedom varies from 6 months to 2 years depending on each state’s DMV regulations.

The purpose of these regulations is to decrease the risk of harm to you and others due to your seizures while still realizing your need to drive to have your independence.

In most of states it is your responsibility to report DMV when you have your seizures. But your doctor may need to do so if he feels that you are jeopardizing your life with driving while your seizures are not well controlled.

Some type of seizures may be exceptions. If you have prolonged auras before your seizure or if you have seizures only in sleep, DMV may accept exceptions based on your doctor’s recommendations.

Once your license is suspended due to poorly controlled seizures, you need to make your best to take your medications in time, follow your doctor’s recommendations, keep your appointments, and fill your seizure calendar. Once you have optimal seizure control, you can contact DMW to appeal the suspension on your driving. And always wear a seatbelt while driving.

First Aid

The instruction for first aid should be known well by the patient’s family, friends and co-workers. Most of the time patients have brief GTC seizures which do not require hospitalization.

  • Be calm and supportive. If you do not know the patient, check for medical alert bracelet or necklace. Call a family member or the patient’s doctor.
  • If it is first seizure that the patient ever has had, call 911.
  • Call 911 if the generalized tonic clonic seizures (GTC) last more than 3 minutes.
  • Call 911 if the confusion state of complex partial seizure lasts more than 15 minutes.
  • Turn the patient to his/her side during and after convulsion to prevent aspiration of saliva and patient’s own secretions.
  • Do not put anything in mouth.
  • Observe for injuries. If there is head and neck trauma, the patient should be immobilized.
  • Remove any sharp items or furniture around the patient in case ongoing seizure or recurrent ones will cause injuries.

When to call 911, Emergency help?

If someone has a convulsive seizure for the first time, emergency help should always be asked. However in someone with established diagnosis of epilepsy, emergency help should be obtained under these conditions:

  • If seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes
  • If second seizure occurs before regaining consciousness after first seizure
  • If there is significant injury during the seizure

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