5 main things to avoid if you are at risk of seizures

A seizure is a sudden, electrical disruption in the brain. Seizures are controlled with medications but when they are recurrent or difficult to control, one could be diagnosed with epilepsy or seizure disorder. Epilepsy is quite common, and it affects nearly 3.5 million people in the United States, including almost half a million children. It can be characterized by episodes of uncontrolled movements, convulsions, loss of consciousness or changes in behavior.

These episodes could last for a few minutes at a time and it is important to avoid certain environments which could complicate them.

DRIVING

Similar to popular notions such as “Do not drink and drive”, patients who are at risk for seizures should avoid driving at all costs. The few minutes of disruption caused by a seizure could be fatal to yourself and other drivers when behind the wheel. Texas regulations state that drivers who are at risk of seizures should be free of seizures for 3 consecutive months before going back on the road. Driving includes forklifts, golf carts and any other off-road vehicles.

UNSUPERVISED OUTDOOR/AQUATIC ACTIVITIES

It is very important to stay as active as you can when you can. But, if you are at risk of seizures it is even more important to have a chaperone who is skilled and alert enough to assist you in the event of a seizure. Activities like swimming, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, cycling etc, require a certain level of coordination. In the event that your coordination is lost during those few minutes of inattentiveness, you would need someone around to either anticipate dangers before they occur or help out afterwards. Drowning and outdoor accidents are leading causes of death in seizure patients.

HIGH PLATFORMS/HEIGHTS

Being diagnosed with a seizure disorder isn’t exactly the best time to act out your Spiderman fantasies. Platforms such as cliffs, ladders or rooftops should be simply avoided to prevent seizure- induced falls. If your job requires high platforms, communicate with your supervisors to request alternative assignments.

HANDLING FIRE, CHEMICALS & ELECTRICAL TOOLS

If it is dangerous to handle it is even more of a danger when seizures are involved. Hazardous materials, even when enclosed, are dangerous and need to be handled with utmost care. People who are seizure risks stand the risk of convulsions which can expose themselves and others to those dangerous materials in their possession. If your job requires you to handle such substances, communicate with your supervisors to request alternative assignments.

OVERHEAD HEAVY LIFTING

When exercising, you are more than welcome to use weights you are comfortable with to train your muscles. However, those who are seizure risks should avoid lifting heavy loads over their heads to prevent any accidents. This is because any loss of sudden loss of coordination while performing such exercises could cause the weights to fall and cause serious injury or trauma.

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