Epilepsy Guide: Tips for Home Safety

Epilepsy affects 0.5 to 1 percent of the total world population. In the United States, approximately 2.5 million people have this condition. About 9 percent of Americans will have at least one seizure during their lifetime.

Seizure, the abnormal movement of the body due to electrical activity problem in the brain, is the most common symptom of epilepsy. But seizures can also occur in people who do not have this condition such as those with psychological stress, trauma, low blood sugar, high fever, and low blood sodium. People may sometimes use seizure disorder as a euphemism for epilepsy but this is misleading.

Epilepsy is a condition described by recurrent seizures. Normally, the brain cells send electrical signals to the body in an orderly pattern. But when these signals become abnormal, a seizure is triggered. This condition is generally treated with drug therapy along with dietary changes and surgery. Psychological therapy should also be in order. Treatment varies according to the gravity of the disorder, overall health, and medical history. Accurate diagnosis is crucial for choosing the best form of treatment.

Coping with epilepsy can be a major challenge not only for the patient but also for his family or the people he’s living with. If you or any other member of the family is suffering from this disorder, it is imperative to ensure home safety. Walk through the house and take note of potential danger zones. Make your home safer for a person with epilepsy through these practical guidelines.

General Tips
Cover the floor of the entire house with heavy and padded carpeting. Seizures, which can occur anytime, can cause a person to fall on the ground. Padded floors would help minimize the impact and prevent head injuries. Padding should also be applied on any furniture that has sharp edges for the same reason. If possible, buy furniture that has round corners.

If you have a fireplace at home, close the fireplace screen during fire burning. Never leave a person with epilepsy inside a room when there is fire in the chimney. Choose space heaters that cannot be topped over. Electric and home appliances should be equipped with automatic shut-off switches. Go for chairs that have arms so that tipping over would not be possible. Install safety gates on the stairs to prevent a person from falling down in case of seizure.

Inside the bathroom
The bathroom door should be installed in such a way that it opens outward instead of inward so that it can be opened right away in case a person falls on the floor during the seizure. Also, always check to see if the bathtub drain is working properly. Water in the tub should be kept at low levels to avoid drowning during seizure.

In the kitchen
It would be best for a person who has epilepsy to use microwave for cooking instead of the stove. If this is not possible, use only the back burners of the stove. Use only plastic food containers and cooking utensils. Food containers and cups should be covered with lids to prevent accidental spillage.

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