The warm months of summer can be an amazing time filled with barbeques, poolside drinks, and long vacations. Yet, people living with a chronic condition, such as epilepsy, may worry about the summer months. After all, evidence suggests that alterations in weather conditions, especially during spring and summer, can trigger a seizure. While this concern is genuine, all it takes is a little careful planning to have a safe and enjoyable summer. Knowing the challenges that can come up and the ways to address them can help you feel more secure and less anxious.
Here are a few tips on how you can have a calm, safe and fun summer.
1. Stay hydrated and eat on time
First of all, drink enough water – it’s the easiest way to prevent dehydration. It is common to perspire more in the summers when the humidity is high as is usually true in Texas, Mississippi, and the other Southern states. Skipping meals, dehydration, and stress are known triggers for seizures so make sure you eat on time and rehydrate your body. When participating in outdoor activities, drink enough water throughout the day especially before, during, and after physical activity. It works to keep the body temperature cool. Also, stay away from caffeine as it can increase the risk of dehydration.
2. When in and around water
Watching out for changes in water depth and currents when you go into open water helps you have a safe and stress-free swim. When you are going into the sea, pay attention to the waves and whether it is safe to swim and take necessary precautions, such as picking a swimming spot close to a lifeguard and bringing a family member or friend with you for company. It will give you peace of mind knowing you have a companion who can offer help if required. When going water skiing, boating, fishing, or rafting, wear a life jacket or a buoyancy vest that functions and fits properly. In a scenario where a seizure occurs in the water, be sure to go for a complete medical evaluation even though you may appear to be fine.
3. Travel and outdoor activities
Use the most appropriate safety equipment when partaking in outdoor activities. Make use of a medical ID bracelet, a medical device, or the Insypre™ by SmartMonitor (compatible with Apple Watches and Samsung watches), which makes it easy to alert designated contacts in case of a seizure. Having a wallet card that indicates essential information, such as emergency contacts and a medication list, is a good idea as well.
4. Other factors
Wearing a helmet when going cycling allows you to protect yourself from a potential head injury in an accident. Wearing reflective clothing so you are visible to other cyclists and vehicles on the road also works to keep mishaps at bay. Share details of the route you are taking with another individual who is aware of your condition so people know of your whereabouts.
When planning a summer vacation, ask your medical professional whether it is safe to do so. If you are taking medication for your seizures, remember to bring enough to last the duration of the trip. Individuals living with photosensitive epilepsy should be mindful about coming in from the direct sun to the shade or vice versa as the shift in visual stimuli (owing to contrasting lights) can trigger a seizure.
It is vital to take frequent breaks whether you are cycling or going on a hike so that you do not exert yourself. Participating in sports activities is a good way to promote physical and mental health but do so with caution. When going on a trip, unforeseen events, long lines, and large crowds can be stressful so make certain you maintain your composure. Follow these tips and living with epilepsy won’t hold you back from having a safe and fun summer!