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Epilepsy Advocate
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Epilepsy in Your Everyday Life

Let’s review some tips for taking epilepsy medication properly and practical advice for a safe home and appropriate physical activities.

How can I remember to take my epilepsy medications?

Taking your medications properly is very important in treating your epilepsy. It is important not to skip doses and to establish a schedule you can remember and stick with. A few tips for sticking with your epilepsy medication schedule are:

  • Fill a pillbox with a week’s epilepsy medication. If at the end of the week you have leftover pills, consult with your physician on how to get back on track
  • Leave yourself notes. Write reminders in your day planner or put sticky notes on your refrigerator or medicine cabinet—anywhere you will see them
  • Program electronic alerts. For those of you who are technologically savvy, program your digital watch, cell phone, or e-mail program to alert you when to take your epilepsy medication

How can I safeguard my kitchen?

Every home has 2 main areas that can invite harm—the kitchen and bathroom. After a complex partial seizure, people can become confused and risk injury. There are several things you can do to decrease the chance of accidents.

In the kitchen:

  • Use oven mitts and cook only on rear burners
  • If possible, use an electric stove, so there is no open flame
  • Cook in a microwave, which is the safest option. Microwave cookbooks are available
  • Keep a cart in the kitchen. This lets you wheel food to the table, so you don’t risk dropping hot food
  • Ask your plumber to install a heat-control device in your faucet so the water doesn’t become too hot
  • Consider carpeting the kitchen floor. This can provide cushion if you fall
  • Use plastic containers rather than glass when possible

How can I safeguard my bathroom?

  • Install a device in your tub and shower head that controls temperature. This keeps you from burning yourself if a seizure should occur
  • Carpet the floor—carpet is softer and less slippery than tile
  • Do not put a lock on the bathroom door. If you have one, never use it. Someone should always be able to get in if you need help
  • Learn to bathe with only a few inches of water in the tub, and use a handheld shower head. If you have many seizures, bathe while someone is with you

How can I participate safely in physical activities?

You can play sports with epilepsy. However, it’s a good idea to have someone with you who knows how to manage a seizure. Wearing head protection is also recommended when participating in a contact sport that has a risk of falling or hitting your head.

Here are some tips for picking the right physical activities for living with epilepsy:

  • If seizures usually occur at a certain time, plan activities when seizures are less likely to happen
  • Avoid extreme heat when exercising and keep hydrated with plenty of water to reduce seizure risks
  • Check with your neurologist before starting any new exercise program

Some activities may be restricted if you have uncontrolled seizures, including:

  • Swimming alone
  • Climbing to unsafe heights
  • Riding a bike in traffic