The holiday season can be a fun time for everyone. Along with parties, lights, drinking, and all the merry making, it is also very important to be aware of the various triggers of seizures and taking the utmost care to keep them at bay. While the major causes of seizures include brain injury, high fever, stroke, dementia, drug and alcohol abuse and genetic disorders, its triggers can be very commonplace stimuli, particularly during the festive season, thus making them very difficult to predict. Some of the triggers include flashing lights and music, lack of sleep, stress, alcohol, and missed medication. Avoiding these can be difficult especially with the Christmas season around the corner, as all the mentioned triggers flourish during the holidays.
FLASHING LIGHTS AND SUDDEN NOISE
This is one of the biggest triggers to avoid during the festive season. Bright red, green and blue lights adorn huge Christmas trees and houses. Driving by brightly lit lanes and shops could be a problem for someone prone to having seizures and extra precaution should be emphasized during this time. Avoid the use of bright lights in your homes. If you come across bright strobe lights, covering one eye and looking away is suggested. Completely avoid passing through brightly lit areas, bars and clubs. Also, avoiding places that light firecrackers as the sudden loud noise and bright burning flames could result in a seizure. If you’re attending a party or dance, request them to avoid using strobe lights and firecrackers.
LACK OF SLEEP
Going out for Christmas and New Year’s parties can mess with a person’s sleep schedule thus reducing the amount of sleep they get. Due to the fact that people who experience epileptic seizures are also more prone to sleep disorders, it is vital for them to monitor their sleep patterns during this Christmas time. It is advisable to avoid attending parties that go on late into the night and also sticking to a fixed sleep schedule.
At the onset of the holiday season stress can increase due to planning various events, purchasing gifts or scheduling visits. Someone who is stressed is also unlikely to get enough sleep or good quality of sleep which would in turn cause anxiety and stress. Avoid taking the responsibility of organizing parties and events and leaving important decision making to someone else would limit the amount of stress and reduce the chances of inducing a seizure.
The holiday season is known for parties and other gatherings, most of which include alcohol. Excess alcohol is known to cause seizures and during the holiday season people usually tend to let loose neglecting their health. Alcohol present in food and cakes along with drinks might increase the chances of a seizure during this time. Avoiding alcohol or excess of it during social gatherings will keep the possibility of a seizure occurring at bay.
With all the activities and parties during the holiday season, it is easy to see how one could forget to take their medication. Keep track of medication and avoid mixing alcohol with your medication or the result could be life threatening.
DO’S AND DON’TS AS A LOVED ONE/CAREGIVER
While a lot can be done to avoid the occurrence of seizures, one must always be prepared to deal with one should it ever occur. Seizures usually do not require medical attention, however you will need to call emergency services if: the person has never had a seizure before, if they have difficulty in breathing or waking up after the seizure, or if it lasts longer than five minutes. Other causes for concern include the person having other ailments like diabetes and heart problems or is pregnant.
Some tips include:
- Stay with the person during the seizure.
- Don’t forcefully hold them down to stop the movements, instead, remove harmful objects from around them and put something under their head so as to reduce injury.
- Don’t put anything in their mouth as they might bite into it and hurt themselves.
- Turning the person onto one side will also help in breathing, but do this only after the seizure has stopped.
Having a seizure during a Christmas party or gathering can be traumatic for the person which in turn increases stress and anxiety. Communicate calmly and tell them what happened. Check if they can talk and breathe normally and then call for someone to take them home. People who are prone to having seizures often wear safety bracelets or bands on them so as to alert parents and caregivers. Smart Monitor’s SmartWatch Inspyre helps with the same. It detects repetitive shaking motion and sends signals to the user’s device which then sends text and phone call alerts to whomever the SmartWatch Inspyre user designates. Family members receive these alerts which include the date, time, location, and duration of the event.