Lifestyle Measures for Individuals with History of Seizures

  1. Compromised awareness, loss of consciousness, and altered muscle tone during driving or operating heavy machinery in individuals with history of seizures can contribute to accidents and mortality associated. This can also be dangerous and life—threatening to other individuals in the vicinity. Individuals with seizure history could have limitations on the driver’s license regarding the minimum amount of time one should be free of seizures, before being allowed to drive. Observe absolute compliance with the limitations imposed and depend on public transport or rides during the time period of limitations on driver’s license.
  2. Compromised awareness, loss of consciousness, and altered muscle tone during a seizure episode can contribute to sudden falls, accidents, head injuries and fractures. Individuals with seizure history must observe compliance with the recommendation of wearing a helmet while riding car, motorcycle, or bike, to avoid any head injuries during a fall or accident, if a seizure episode were to occur.
  3. Avoiding busier streets, highways, and rush hour traffic can help preventing accidents to some extent. Seizure patients can check with the HR, if they qualify to work from home, considering their health condition.
  4. Individuals with seizure history must avoid working on unprotected heights, such as, using a ladder. Consider shift in occupation, if needed, to avoid life risk.
  5. Individuals with seizure history must strictly comply with intake of prescribed anti-seizure medications, as ordered. The frequency of intake of these medications are precisely timed for seizure prevention and noncompliance with the ordered frequency invites a serious risk for seizure episode.
  6. Making sure all the furniture in the house have arm rests to lean on to can help fall prevention for seizure patients. Install side rails on the bed to further fall prevention. Sleeping on a futon or mattress on the floor can also be a safer option to prevent risk of falling from a height, if a seizure were to occur during sleep.
  7. Individuals with seizure history must avoid having extremely soft mattress or pillows in the bed. If a seizure episode were to happen during sleep, individuals can get compressed against the soft pillows and mattress, which can be high risk factors for suffocation, asphyxia, and death. Choosing mattress and pillows that are moderately hard to avoid this risk can be a life saving measure for seizure patients.
  8. Leave the living areas open and free of clutter. Clear the clutter regularly can help prevent knocking against objects during a seizure episode, thus reducing risk for head injuries and accidents.  Putting corner guards on furniture and padding on hard and sharp edges can also offer extra safety buffer in preventing head injuries during a fall from seizure.
  9. If  the seizure patient is a kid, it is a safer option to install stair gates, to control access to stairs. Having an elevator in the house or living in a house on one floor could also be considered to enhance security. For seizure patients, considering use of elevator is always a safer option against the stairs.
  10. If the seizure patient is a kid, it is a safer option to not use a fireplace or swimming pool in the house. Even if you do, limit access to the fireplace and pool by having guard rails installed, to prevent the child falling into them and risking life in the event of a seizure episode.
  11. Risk for drowning and death is high in swimmers with history of epilepsy. Abrupt onset of seizures while swimming contributes to accidents and mortality associated. It is best to avoid activities like swimming and other water sports and substitute them with less risker activities.
  12. If an individual with seizure history were to go swimming, they should make sure that the pool is always attended by a lifeguard. Having a swimming partner and keeping it only as a joint activity can offer additional security. Also, training swimming partners of seizure patients at performing Heimlich maneuver and basic CPR, if a seizure episode were to occur during swimming, can be of additional help.
  13. If the seizure patient is a kid, always make sure an adult aware of the kid’s health condition, is available for one-to-one supervision during swimming. The supervising adult must be a trained swimmer, strong enough to get the seizing child out of water, and trained CPR personnel, to provide help to the kid, if a seizure happens during swimming.
  14. Individuals with seizure history must avoid taking tub baths limit themselves to showers, to avoid risk for drowning and death. Installing grab bars in place, use of nonslip cushioned bathmats, and use of shower chair are additional measures to avoid falls and injury, if a seizure episode were to occur during a shower.
  15. Loss of awareness during a seizure episode can put an individual at serious risk for burn injuries, if seizure were to happen during a shower. Set the maximum water temperature in the house to mild or lukewarm, to help avoid any burn injuries from hot water.
  16. Encourage the individual with seizures to not bolt the doors from inside while in the bedroom or bathroom. This can provide an opportunity for caregivers to reach out for assistance, in the event of a seizure episode. Using “please knock before coming in” and “occupied” display boards on bedroom and restroom doors can ensure privacy for the seizure patient.
  17. Hinge the bedroom, bathroom, and restroom doors to swing outside. This can help the caregivers to open the door easy to assist, even if the patient is laying fallen against the door in the event of a seizure episode.
  18. Individuals with seizure history should avoid using electrical appliances, such as, flat irons, electric razor, and hair dryer inside the bathroom. If using the equipment inside the bathroom, seizure patients always make sure that the water faucets in the bathroom are all turned off and no water is backed up in the washbasin, sink, shower, or tub. In the event of a seizure, individuals stand the risk of dropping the appliance into water and electrocute themselves.
  19. If the seizure patient lives alone, leaving a set of house keys with a friend or family member can help the caregivers to reach out for assistance, in case a seizure episode were to happen and the patient were unable to answer the door.
  20. Individuals with seizure history must always wear a medical ID bracelet or neckband or carry a medical ID card to enable others identify the issue and provide needed help, if a seizure were to happen. Considering having a monitor and alarm in their room to alert someone nearby for help or subscribing to an emergency response service offers extra protection. This is more so a requirement if the seizure patient is a kid.
  21. Educate your child about their condition, signs and symptoms to be aware of & alerted to, limitations on their activities, risks involved, and safety measures for protection. Educate other kids in the house to be compassionate and accommodative, instead of bullying the kid with limitations.
  22. Caregivers should act as the first resource for help for an individual with seizure disorder. Encourage the seizure patient to come and report to you, in case they had suffered or they think they had suffered a seizure episode out of your knowledge.
  23. Caregivers and family members must be trained at performing Heimlich maneuver on the seizure patient to prevent choking, in the event of a seizure episode during dining.
  24. Smokers with seizure history must quit smoking. Such individuals stand risk of suffering burns, secondary to reduced awareness or loss of consciousness due to a seizure episode during smoking.
  25. If the seizure patient is a kid, caregivers must time their restroom and bathroom visit and check on them if they are not out yet, after the allowed time for the visit.
  26. Individuals with seizure history must observe compliance with intake of well-balanced healthy nutrition and have a restful sleep, both contributing to effective seizure control.
  27. Alcoholics with seizure history must abstain from alcohol consumption, as excess alcohol intake can act as a risk factor precipitating seizure episodes. Also, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to malnutrition state, which can be detrimental to optimal seizure control.
  28. Always have fireplaces and radiators covered with safety glass, to prevent any burn injuries. This is also a general household safety measure against burns.
  29. Women with seizures and taking anti-seizure medications must observe caution, if they are planning to conceive. Some anti-seizure medications increase risk for birth defects in the fetus. Notify your doctor in advance regarding your plans for pregnancy, as necessary changes need be made on your anti-seizure medications, to prevent the risk for congenital defects in newborn.
  30. In the event of a seizure episode during drinking, due to excessive jerky body movements, hot liquids can spillover from cups without safety lids and lead to burn injuries. To prevent this happening, individuals with seizure history must always use cups and coffee mugs with safety lids.
  31. Caregivers must keep the seizure patient away from using sharp instruments in the house, such as, kitchen knives. If the seizure patient lives alone, using a grinder or food processor for chopping is a safer option to prevent cuts and injuries. Purchasing cut vegetables, chopped & ground meat, ready-to-eat meals can minimize the use of kitchen knives and reduce risk for cuts and injuries.
  32. Caregivers must keep the seizure patient away from riskier tasks, such as, cooking. If the seizure patient lives alone, following some safety measures while in kitchen can reduce risk for injuries. Risk for burn injuries is high with open flame gas if a seizure episode were to happen during cooking. So, install electric stove for cooking as a safer option. Be double sure to turn the stove off, after completing the cooking process. Microwave cooking can further reduce the chances for suffering burn injuries during cooking.
  33. While cooking, seizure patients must make sure that they are not using too many burners on the cooking counter at the same time, which can significantly increase risk for burn injuries in the event of a seizure happening. Using the back burner during cooking can offer some safety buffer, if one were to fall on the stove and spill hot dishes during cooking due to seizure.