While you, the person with epilepsy, need to know how to manage your seizures, you’ll also want others to know what to do. This is most important if you have seizures that affect your awareness or memory, or that lead to falls or injury. One of your most important jobs will be to teach others what to do and how to do it. Start by making sure that you have read the section on Responding to Seizures and ask your travel companion to do the same.

Teaching others will mean you need to feel comfortable talking about your seizures. How you tell others makes all the difference in the world. Here are a few tips.

  • Fear spreads. If you are scared about seizures, others will pick you on your fear and be scared too. Try to talk about the seizures in a non-emotional way if you can.
  • Focus on what happens, what doesn’t happen during a seizure, and what the other person can do to help. Stress that in the majority of situations, seizures end in seconds to a few minutes.
  • Explain what your typical seizures look like and how they can recognize them. If you have a videotape of your seizures, try showing them what one looks like. Or visit types of seizures for help describing different your seizures.
  • Show them how to time a seizure - from the beginning to the end of the actual seizure, and then how long it takes for you to recover.
  • Explain and practice what to do if you have a seizure while traveling. Practice seizure drills and teach others how to help you recover after a seizure and when to call for help.
  • Make sure they know that it’s okay to call for help if they are uncertain or nervous about what to do. Make sure you don’t ask people to do things that they are not comfortable with or that they are not able to do. If you are traveling with a child, don’t ask the child to assume adult responsibilities. Make sure they know how to dial 911 or contact emergency medical help in other ways.
  • If you have frequent seizures or are traveling alone, consider what transportation personnel you should tell about your seizures and what to do.
  • If you or a love one use "as needed" or rescue medication, make sure you read up on these and review the doctors orders for when and how to use them.
Authored By: 
Steven C. Schachter MD
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: 
07/2007
Reviewed By: 
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
on: 
Wednesday, December 12, 2018