Welcome! In this blog you will find some important information about how to live a worry-free summer with epilepsy. There are many helpful tips as well as interesting topics that can help educate you on the importance of living your best life with epilepsy and how this can be achieved.
Hi! My name is Rebekah. I am a twenty year old paramedic student who has epilepsy. I have been seizure free for three years and am happy to share with you the tips and tricks that I have learned to having a safe and seizure-free summer. I cannot wait to help you understand that living with epilepsy does not have to be dreadful, and that the summer can still be one of the most fun times of the year. With a positive mindset and good support, we can all make it through this together.
Heat and Epilepsy
How Heat Causes Seizures:
To start off, it is important to talk about heat and how it plays such an important role when considering a person with epilepsy. In general, when a person becomes severely overheated, they risk a higher chance of having a seizure. This is why it is important to prevent heat stroke (exhaustion), or hyperthermia. Though, to trigger a seizure in someone with epilepsy it is the changes in weather that are more likely to be the cause. This being said, if a person enters a hot environment from a cold environment this could trigger a seizure; however, the opposite remains true as well. In addition, the bright light from the sun can also be the cause of a seizure in someone with epilepsy.
Next, heat is a large contributor to dehydration. When a person is exposed to heat for a long period of time and does not consume enough fluids to replenish the perspiration, this can be the cause of a seizure. This is particularly the case for a person with epilepsy. This is because when there is too much fluid escaping the body through sweat, a drop in sodium (salt) and glucose (sugar) levels is the result. Ultimately, this can cause low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) which is a main cause of seizures. In addition, too much perspiration can cause too much medication to be excreted from the body, which can also lower the seizure threshold.
How to Protect Yourself from the Heat:
Well, simply because heat is a trigger for a seizure does not mean that everyone with epilepsy must stay inside all summer. It means that preventative measures must be taken in order to ensure a happy and safe summer.
To begin, when inside, it is important to keep the house at a temperature that is cool enough to be comfortable; though, it must not be too cool that there is such a large difference between the inside temperature and the outside temperature. This is because, as mentioned, drastic temperature changes trigger epileptic seizures. Instead of having the air conditioner on all the time, blackout curtains or tinted windows are a good alternative. Ceiling fans and free-standing fans work as a good method to circulate the air as well. Ultimately, staying indoors in a well ventilated and cool area is a great way to prevent hyperthermia and to prevent seizures from temperatures changes; however, summer is more fun when spent outdoors and there are plenty of safe ways to enjoy it.
To start, when going outdoors, it is important to locate the shady areas. This is because these areas are the coolest and will provide the lowest temperature change between indoors and outdoors. In addition, there is a lesser chance of perspiring and becoming dehydrated when spending less time under the sun. Other ideas of how to increase the amount of shade include planting a tree, installing an awning or installing a gazeebo. When considering children and seniors in particular, their body has a more difficult time regulating body temperature. This means that it is most important that they spend less time in the sun and more time in the shade. Evidently, spending time in the sun is a great idea; though, it should be moderated and fluid intake should be increased during this period.
Ultimately, it is important to spend time both indoors and outdoors in the summer. Though, this means that taking appropriate preventative measures is crucial to ensuring a safe and seizure-free summer.
Stay safe everyone, talk to you next week!