Travelling with Epilepsy
Does having epilepsy prevent you from travelling? No, absolutely not!
Do you need to do a bit of extra planning before you set off? Yes! You’ll need to think about your medication, sorting specialist medical travel insurance, managing the effects of jet lag if you’re flying, which vaccinations you can have if you need them and anything else associated with travel that might trigger a seizure.
Sounds daunting, but the following guidance and tips on travelling from the Epilepsy Society and the NHS should help you prepare.
Flying with Epilepsy
If your seizures are triggered by tiredness, dehydration, excitement or anxiety – you’ll need to be mindful when flying as all of these are more likely to affect you and research has found that people who do have seizures are more likely to have them after flying.
It’s important to make sure that someone travelling with you knows about your epilepsy and how to help if you have a seizure. It’s also a good idea to Tell you airline about your epilepsy and anything else you think they need to know in advance so they inform the cabin crew who will be better prepared to help you should anything happen.
Tips for Reducing the Effects of Jet Lag
Extreme tiredness caused by jet lag can cause seizures for some people living with epilepsy. While jet lag can’t be prevented, there are things you can do to reduce its effects – here’s what the NHS suggests:
- Before You Travel, get plenty of rest and relax before going to bed. If you can, gradually change your sleep routine and try to go to bed and get up in line with the time of your destination.
- Drink plenty of water during your flight. keep your new sleep routine and use an eye mask and earplugs if they help. Don’t drink too much caffeine or alcohol as they can make jet lag worse
- Change your sleep schedule to the new time zone as quickly as possible once you arrive and go outside during the day – natural light will help your body clock adjust.
Additional Travel Considerations
You’ll need to think about your medication and make sure you pack enough in its original packaging for your entire holiday as some drugs may not be available in other countries.
It’s also a good idea to get a letter from your GP or specialist explaining your epilepsy and the medication you take and to take copies of your prescription with you. This will help with any conversations you have with security or with pharmacists at your destination should you need to replace any medication.
Vaccinations and Anti-malarial Medication
Travel vaccinations protect you against diseases and necessary for visiting some countries and most will not affect epilepsy, seizure control, or anti-epileptic drugs. According to the NHS, you should visit your GP or private travel clinic at least 8 weeks before you travel to sort your vaccinations out – make sure they know you have epilepsy and what medication you’re taking.
Travel insurance is always recommended but it’s even more important if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition like epilepsy.
Our specialist medical travel insurance for epilepsy covers any unplanned medical treatment you may need, help replace lost medication and gives you access to a 24-hour medical emergency helpline if you need assistance in the event of a medical emergency
We love sharing great tips to help our customers – if you’ve got a tip about travelling with epilepsy or reducing the effects of jet lag you’d like to share, please add it to the comments below.