There is an increased risk of injury in people with epilepsy. If you experience sudden and frequent seizures that affect awareness, you are the most likely to be at risk. It may be necessary to take precautions in your home, workplace, educational settings, and while traveling.
Open flames, stoves, irons, and cigarette smoking all pose risks.
Using a microwave rather than a stove, carpeting the floors, padding the edges of tables and other furniture, and taking showers rather than baths, are just a few of the precautions that will make your home safer. Showers are safer than baths for those with epilepsy, but injuries can still occur. If you experience falls during a seizure, consider using a shower seat with a safety strap.
If you have warnings before seizures, you may have the opportunity to lie down on your side on a carpeted or other soft surface.
If you experience sudden seizures, stand back from roads or the edge of platforms while traveling by bus or subway. When traveling by air, informing airline officials of your condition in advance will allow for preparation in case of a seizure.
New safety aids are continually developed. High tech devices such as seizure-specific alarms triggered by seizure movements in bed, electronic tracking devices, and adapted showers that use infrared technology to shut off the water supply if a person falls are a few innovations.
Although still very difficult to obtain and expensive to train, seizure service dogs are useful for some people with epilepsy. The dogs are trained to respond once a seizure starts by seeking help, or assisting in protecting the person during the seizure. Studies suggest that some dogs seem capable of predicting a seizure and then alerting the individual.
Edmonton Epilepsy Association has produced a booklet on Safety. Contact Epilepsy Support Centre to get a copy.
Reprinted in part from Edmonton Epilepsy Association.