Taking a trip or a holiday can sometimes be hard if you have Epilepsy so here is the groups top fourteen tips to help have a smooth and safe holiday.
1. Make sure you have enough medication for the whole holiday. Your doctor’s surgery will give you extra medication if you ask your chemist to say that it is for a holiday. It may be worth considering splitting your medication in two so you have one lot in hand luggage and the other in your suitcase just in case one lot gets lost you will have a spare set of your medication.
2.Check what paperwork you need for your medicine. Some medicines are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs laws. You may need a letter from your doctor if you are travelling with certain medicines. You can visit epilepsy.org.uk/abroad for more information about this.
3.Think how to store your medication airlines like to see the medication in a clear box and make sure if needed your medication is kept in a cool dry place. Your pharmacist can advise you how to store medication. Go to the airports web site to see the latest ways to present your medication.
4.Remember the time difference for certain countries so change alarms alerts to compensate for this.
5.Check with your surgery or chemist if you need vaccinations for the country you are traveling to and ask if this will effect your epilepsy medication. While your at the chemist ask for a spare prescription list for you to take with you when your on your holiday.
6.The group would always advice you to take out medical insurance as becoming ill while abroad could easily become a costly experience.
7.If travelling in Europe apply for a EHIC European Health Insurance Card which will allow you to access state provided health care in some European countries.The card is free and you can apply for one at ehic.org.uk
8.Check if you need medical clearance for any flights. Most airlines follow the International Air Travel Association IATA medical guidelines. These say that if you had a tonic clonic seizure less than 24 hours before your flight you will need medical clearance to be allowed to fly. Some airlines may differ so check the policy before you fly.
9.Consider identity jewellery or an Epilepsy ID card stating you have Epilepsy and who to call in an emergency if a seizure occurs.
10.Consider telling airline staff that you have epilepsy so if you do have some form of seizure what ever type it is staff will be able to help you if the need arises.
11.If you have a VNS device it is advisable you have a medical letter stating this as the VNS could set off the metal detector device. Show security staff your letter so you can be frisked instead of having to go through the metal detector device. Security staff would rather frisk you than have your device set off the metal detector device.
12.know your limatations when doing certain sports as some activities and Epilepsy do not mix. Consider telling staff who help with sports and tour guides that you have Epilepsy so they can watch out for you if a seizure does occur. Hotel staff may be able to bring food to your room if you have had a seizure and are unable to go down to eat a meal.
13.Remember that the sun can effect some people’s seizures so make sure you are able to cool down with a quick dip or a cool drink and don’t stay in the sun all the time find some shade so you do not get to hot.
14.Remember depending on what you are doing and what country you are going to disabled concessions may be available as you have Epilepsy.Its always worth asking as the saying goes if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Be safe but importantly make sure you have a really enjoyable holiday and remember it for the happy memories. Everyone’s seizures are different and you should be the best judge of any restrictions or triggers caused by your epilepsy and how they affect you on a day to day basis.
Source of information Ipswich Epilepsy Support Group and Epilepsy Action advice correct as of July 2018. Rules, policys may change so please keep up to date by contacting the realavant bodies.