Planning takes the stress out of travel. From managing seizures to showing others how to respond, preparation may go a long way in securing your safety. Here are some tips.
Assess your needs and risks. If you’re headed to a city, you’ll probably have access to emergency healthcare. If it’s somewhere rural, precautions may be a good idea. Check your insurance coverage to see if special conditions apply. Traveling with a companion may offer more assurance. Equip them with your seizure response plan, for example. Epilepsy Foundation (Epilepsy.com) provides My Toolbox to create one, as well as other helpful guides, like the Seizure First Aide app. If traveling alone, consider a medical ID bracelet.
Driving or Flying
Driving regulations for people with epilepsy vary by country and state. If you drive, make sure you can do so legally, and plan time for breaks. If you have photosensitive epilepsy, avoid driving at night; headlights may produce a flashing effect. Air travel is not recommended for people with uncontrolled seizures, according to the Aerospace Medical Association. If you’re flying, contact the airline to select the best seat in the event of an emergency.
Disruptions in sleep, changes in eating or unforeseen delays may derail your health. Consider which factors are triggers for you and then try to prevent them. If you’re traveling across time zones, allow for extra time to adjust. Keep regular sleep and meal times, and allow for rest. Consult your doctor with any questions. Be safe, and have fun!
Tips for Managing Medications
Take extra care with medications to be sure you’ll have what you need. Store medicine in properly labeled bottles. Your pharmacist may provide additional containers. Take with you enough to last twice as long as you’ll be traveling. In a carry-on bag, pack enough medicine to last the whole trip, and place the extra supply in your checked bag. That way, you’ll be covered if one bag is lost. Talk to your doctor about how to manage your schedule across time zones.
Originally printed in EpilepsyAdvocate, Spring 2017