22 Nov21

Traveling Abroad when Living with Epilepsy

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There is movement in the travel industry again. The International borders are opening up to tourists and many countries are easing their travel restrictions. Getting out again can be difficult for some and more so if you’re living with epilepsy. Traveling at this time can be daunting, but it needn’t hinder your post-pandemic travel plans. With the proper precautions and planning, your travels can be much safer and enjoyable. Here are some tips that could help make traveling with epilepsy easier, whether you’re travelling solo or in a group.

Talk About It

The most important thing to do is to let people you’re travelling with know about your condition. This includes your traveling group (if you’re traveling with one), the flight crew, the hotel staff, your cab drivers, and anyone else who may be directly involved in your travels. Talking about it can be difficult, but it is crucial to help them better prepare themselves to accommodate you and your needs.  Along with this, you can also inform them about the steps they can take in case you do have a seizure. You can also keep a small piece of paper with the instructions printed on it in your travel bag. Have one in English as well as in the local language of your destination to make it easier for bystanders to provide you with care.

Research your Destination

Speaking of new destinations and languages, it would be advisable for you to research your destination well. You can locate your stay and get in touch with its management to find the closest hospitals, labs or pharmacies. Get their contact details and keep them where they’re easy to find. You can also get your local transport, event bookings, sightseeing tickets sorted beforehand to avoid any last minute hassle and the consequent stress. In case you’re not allowed to carry your medicines along with you, you can also find out about what similar medications are available at the pharmacies there. 

Find your Triggers

Research shows that most often seizures can be managed by managing their triggers. A few examples of potential triggers can be alcohol, stress, lack of sleep, excessive activity and so on. You can get an appointment with your doctor and find out what your triggers are. If you already are aware of them, you can figure out the steps you can take to keep them in check. For instance, if you’re someone who enjoys alcohol, you can set a limit on your intake. Figuring out a sleep routine and sticking to it can be extremely beneficial too. 

Managing Changing Time Zones

Changing time zones can mess with your schedules. It is ideal to take your medications regularly at the same time. It would be helpful for you to carry two watches or set a timer on your mobile phone. Plan ahead and make sure you know how many time zones you’ll be changing so you can keep track of your doses and take your medication on time.

Find the best Travel Insurance for yourself

Insurance has become one of the most crucial investments in everyone’s lives. Finding a good travel insurance policy can be tough, and finding one that accommodates epilepsy won’t be any easier. It is important to have a clear diagnosis of your condition. You need to be able to tell the insurance agent clearly what the interval of your seizures is and when you had your last one. Along with that you need to find out what you need your policy to cover for you; an insurance policy can offer cashless treatment, checkups and cover MRI and Brain Scans. Check with multiple insurance agencies to find the best fit for you. Finally, it is advisable that you go talk to an agent in person instead of trying to find a policy online.

Organise your Medication

Traveling to a new place is daunting as it is, especially if you’re doing it all by yourself. First things first you need to organise your medication. It would be wise to carry all the medicines you might need on your trip and some more along with you. This is to ensure you don’t run out since the medicines you need might not be available in the destination country or the pharmacies could be out of stock. There is also a chance that your stuff (and medicines) could be stolen, lost by the airlines or your return could be delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances. Finally, make sure to put some in your check-in luggage and some in your carry-on just to be safe.

Talk to your Airlines

If you’re traveling by flight, you need to inform your airlines to get any permissions you might need. You can find out how much medicine you are allowed to carry with you and if you would need to take any permission to carry them. You would also need to update them about any implanted devices that could hold you up at security check. There is also a possibility that based on your most recent seizure you may need to ask permission to board the flight or be required to carry a companion with you during the journey. 

Wear a Medical Bracelet

Carry a medical ID card or wear medical jewelry to help alert people if you’re having a seizure in an unknown place. This is especially true if you’re a solo traveller living with epilepsy. This helps the general public as well as emergency personnel save time and know the kind of first aid or medical assistance to provide to you. Epilepsy monitoring apps like the Inspyre by SmartMonitor will help keep your emergency contacts notified in case you’re having a seizure. If you are traveling with your family and are alone when a seizure occurs, they can come to your aid, which can be extremely useful. If, however, your emergency contacts are located in your hometown or home country, they will still be notified of your seizures and can be in touch to find out how you’re doing. 

Planning ahead will help cut down on the stress traveling can bring with its large crowds, long lines, and last minute checks or registrations. If possible, find a destination that is more peaceful than chaotic. Get your things in order, make your appointments, pack your bags and take off. Traveling with epilepsy doesn’t have to be hard if you’re prepared. Most of all, don’t forget to have the time of your life!

Read our blog on the signs of epilepsy in older adults and COVID-safety tips for kids with epilepsy