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Ten Tips for Traveling with Epilepsy

Family going on vacation

If you have epilepsy and are planning a summer vacation, there are some steps you can take to minimize seizure risk while traveling.  Here are 10 travel tips:

1) Talk to your doctor. Ask about specific activities and safety.  Get advice on managing your medication schedule, especially if you are changing time zones. If you’re traveling out of the country, you might also consider getting the most recent copy of your health records in case of an emergency.

2) Choose an appropriate mode of transport. Traveling by car is usually an easy and inexpensive way to travel, yet people who are still having seizures most likely cannot be the driver. Other people with uncontrolled seizures may not be able to fly commercially or travel alone. Visit the Epilepsy Foundation if you need help deciding on a mode of transportation and speak to your doctor if you have concerns.

3) Bring enough medication. In fact, bring extra just in case you experience delays. Pack medication for your trip in your carry-on – and pack the same amount in your checked bags. Don’t forget to do the same for rescue medications if they are part of your seizure response plan. If one bag gets lost, you will still have enough medication for the duration on your trip – and for emergencies.

4) Have a seizure response plan. If traveling with another person or group, make sure one person has read and understood your seizure response plan, including the use of rescue medications. If you don’t have a plan, you can make one get started here. If you are traveling alone, inform the flight attendant, train conductor or driver, or even a seat-mate that you sometimes have seizures, or wear a medical bracelet.

5) Have a plan for a missed medication dose. Make sure you know what to do should you forget to take a dose of any medication. Missing doses is a leading seizure trigger.

6) Get enough rest. Fatigue is a well-known seizure trigger. Consider bookending your trip with rest days to prevent fatigue. Don’t overdo it.

7) Reduce stress. As fun as traveling can be, it can also be stressful – and stress can be a seizure trigger. Be sure to pace yourself and try to reduce your stress level as much as possible – remember, traveling for vacation is supposed to be fun!

8) Avoid alcohol. During vacation, you may be tempted to over-indulge. Don’t. Talk to your doctor about drinking while traveling.

9) Think about photosensitivity. Driving at night with many headlights flashing can trigger seizures in some people. Likewise, some amusement parks have rides with flashing lights or other special effects that could induce seizures. Even fireworks can be a trigger. If you are photosensitive, read these prevention tips from the Epilepsy Foundation.

10) Have fun. Living with seizures can be challenging, but don’t let that stop you from living every day of your vacation to the fullest.

We hope you found these tips useful, but we recognize that you may have different concerns or needs.  For more comprehensive travel pointers and information, please visit the Epilepsy Foundation.

May 25, 2017 | Categories: General

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