Before cold and flu season hits this year, consider taking time to get a flu shot. But if you do catch a cold, lmad Najm, M.D., director of the Epilepsy Center at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute, offers these tips.
Do take ibuprofen or acetaminophen if you have a fever. A high temperature puts stress on the brain and increases your risk of having a seizure.
Don't take any other type of cold or flu medicine, whether it's over the counter or prescription, without first consulting the physician who treats your epilepsy. If you go to a general practitioner not familiar with your medical history, remind the doctor that you have epilepsy and ask him or her to discuss treatment with your neurologist.
Do drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can place stress on the brain. Children suffer more from dehydration than adults do, so it's especially important to encourage them to drink plenty of liquids when they're sick.
Don't overdo it. You may be at higher risk for seizures when you're sick, so take it easy, get plenty of rest and postpone tasks that aren't absolutely necessary. Ask a friend or family member to drive you to the doctor or run errands for you.
Do contact your physician if you experience vomiting or diarrhea. In addition to becoming dehydrated, your body may not be getting adequate antiepilepsy medicine, which can make you more susceptible to seizures.