Heat alert – how to stay cool with epilepsy
UPDATE: Epilepsy Society will be running a special symposium on 20 March 2024 - Rare and Hot: climate change and rare diseases. We will be discussing how we can get climate change included in national and international policies for rare diseases. Find out more and sign up at the link below.
A heat-health alert has been issued for much of England , with temperatures predicted to reach 32C/89.6F midweek. There is an amber warning in eight of the country's nine regions until Sunday. Just the North-East has a yellow warning.
The UK Health Security Agency's amber alert means people of all ages could be affected, putting the NHS at risk.
For anyone with epilepsy, it is important to make sure that you take sensible precautions to stay cool, particularly if you know your epilepsy is sensitive to the heat. A survey* carried out by the Epilepsy Society that showed that 62 per cent of people with uncontrolled seizures experience an increase in their seizure activity during unusually hot weather.
Here are a few ways that may help you stay cool in the heat:
- Try to avoid going out in the sun at midday when it is hottest. If possible, limit outdoor activities to early morning or early evening when temperatures are likely to be cooler
- Make sure you keep well hydrated. Your brain is 78 per cent water so its performance will quickly be affected by lack of water. Keep a supply of water with you wherever you go
- Where possible, stay cool in an air-conditioned room or use a fan to keep air circulating
- Closing curtains and blinds can help to keep a room cool. Keep windows and curtains open early in the morning when the air is cooler. But as the temperature rises, shut doors and windows and close curtains so that the hot air does not heat the air indoors
- Wear cool, light-coloured clothing that won’t absorb the heat
- Listen to your own body. If you are feeling weak, dizzy or over-heated, take a break and find somewhere shady to relax. Tell a friend or family member how you are feeling
- Keep your epilepsy medication in a cool place, out of direct sun and make sure you take as prescribed
- Cooling off in the pool is always refreshing but remember to follow all the usual precautions – don’t swim alone; swim with a friend or family member; tell the lifeguard you have epilepsy; don’t swim in open water where there is no lifeguard; even a paddling pool can pose a danger if you have epilepsy – always cool off with a friend, never alone.
*The charity conducted its survey following the week of 21-27 June 2020, when temperatures soared above 30 degrees Celsius.
Climate change and the health of people with neurological conditions
EpiCC – Epilepsy Climate Change – led by Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, is trying to understand more about how people affected by neurological conditions believe climate change will affect their health and the health of others.
You can find out more here https://epilepsysociety.org.uk/epicc