Recognize the risks | Epilepsy Foundation

People who don’t have seizures usually take it for granted that they will be safe at home and in the workplace. They certainly feel safe when they go to sleep, and most even feel safe when playing sports or driving. But for a person who has seizures, all of these places and situations can be dangerous. Injuries can be reduced, however, with a few simple changes in environment and ways of doing things.

Deciding what to do, what not to do and when to take precautions is difficult. People should talk to their healthcare team and ask themselves a few questions such as:

  • What is my risk of seizures?
  • When do my seizures tend to occur and what activities should I undertake at that time?
    • People who have seizures only at night may not need the same precautions as those whose seizures occur during the day.
  • What is my risk of injury – to myself and to others?
    • The risks may vary depending on the type and frequency of seizures or the length of the recovery period.
  • What kind of activities do I like to do and what are the dangers?
    • Consider in relation to the age of the person. The frequency and importance of certain activities are very different for children and adolescents than for older adults. As a result, their risks will be very different.
  • What is the benefit of participating in these activities?
    • While potential injury is a concern, so is the need to participate in life’s activities.
    • Sometimes people can be isolated because of an unrealistic fear of injury.
    • Weighing the benefits of participation against the possible risk of injury will help people make realistic and reasonable decisions.
  • What safety precautions are available?
    • Simple safety precautions such as the use of protective gear can be helpful for certain activities.
    • Staying away from certain high-risk activities may also be necessary for some people.
    • Think about when an activity might be done. Taking extra safety precautions during high-risk periods for seizures is common sense and easy to do.
    • Adapted aids or equipment may be necessary for people who tend to fall or who have difficulty moving around safely. A home, school or workplace safety assessment can help you know what types of aids or equipment may be helpful and where to get them.

It is important to remember that safety precautions may be necessary for some people living with seizures. However, measures must be taken to reduce the risk of injury while allowing the person to live the fullest possible life.

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