Dr. Wolf: Being safe and being a person with epilepsy is a pretty frequent conversation that we have in the office. How do we tell parents to tell their children to be safe?
Patty: We like to have people with epilepsy, especially children with epilepsy feel empowered so that they feel as if there's nothing that they can't do. So to that end, we really don't restrict much in the way of activities. We do tell them that they need to take their medicine on time. They need to not be sleep-deprived. That's very important. They need to get an adequate amount of rest.
If they are bicycling, wear a helmet. But that's the same thing we tell everybody. If they're swimming, there should be somebody else around, which again is the same rule for everyone. The only real restriction we place is that we tell people who are really having active seizures and pretty frequently is that when they take a shower or a bath, they should leave the bathroom door open so that people can get to them in case of a seizure.
Dr. Wolf: As far as sports, it's really important to have a conversation with your neurologist about which sports you really are able to do. A lot of children come in saying, "Can I play football? Can I go skiing?" And those you have to have a conversation to find out how frequently you are having seizures and determine whether those sports are safe for you. So again, this is a conversation between family members, parents, neurologists about what are the activities that are unsafe for you and which ones you can participate in.