October 26, 2020

Traveling with Epilepsy

Lifestyle & Wellness

Are you planning a vacation? There’s nothing as exciting as exploring somewhere new!

If you have epilepsy, you might have particular travel concerns.  It is worth setting aside a little extra time to prepare, so that you may have a stress-free journey. Here are some helpful tips to plan for that fun and relaxing vacation or business trip.

1. See your doctor prior to the trip to help with your plans and to make sure you have enough medication
If you take antiepileptic drugs, make sure that you have ordered enough to cover yourself for the trip.  Store your medication plan in the Epsy app, so that you will receive helpful reminders – you might be more likely to miss doses when your daily routine is changed by travel.

2. Get travel insurance
If traveling outside the U.S., choose a plan that allows you to seek medical care if needed during your trip, including treatment for seizures.

3. Keep your medication with you at all times whether you travel by road, rail,  or air.
Make sure the medication is in a temperature controlled compartment that is not subjected to extreme heat or cold.

4. Prepare for transport issues
Different transport types can present specific problems. It might be worth speaking to the airline, bus or train provider to let them know about your condition. If you are flying, it is useful to bring a letter from your doctor listing your prescription medication and any implanted medical devices.  This can help you pass through security screening more quickly.

5. Plan for common issues
Travel can affect seizure triggers. If you are going somewhere hot for example (and overheating is a trigger for you), make sure to bring water and get plenty of rest during the journey.  Ask your doctor how to manage your medication if your travel causes you to change time zones.  Be sure to get plenty of sleep as lack of sleep may be a seizure trigger.

6. Carry an epilepsy ID
This is a small card that some patients carry to explain their seizures to bystanders.  If you don't speak the local language at your destination, get a translation of your card in case you need to explain your seizures.  

7. Try to travel with someone if possible.  
If not, tell your transportation service about your condition and what to do if you have a seizure.

Traveling can be fun, and many people with epilepsy take trips without any serious problems. That said, if you are planning on traveling, it’s a good idea to speak to your treatment team for extra tips and advice.  Bon voyage!