The 5th of November is just around the corner and for most this means the excitement of celebrating bonfire night. With friends and family enjoying a crisp autumnal night full of fireworks, bonfires, bangers, music and fun.
But for some it can be a difficult time of year as the risk of seizures can increase and you are left feeling excluded from all the fun events.
So, what can you do to ensure your not left missing out?
Well for those with photosensitive epilepsy there is a risk that the flashing lights of fireworks and the flickering flames of a bonfire could trigger a seizure. For those with Autosomal dominant partial epilepsy with auditory features (ADPEAF) some types of music or loud noises can trigger a seizure.
So, we have put together a few simple steps to help you reduce your risk and ensure your night goes off with a bang for all the right reasons!
Rest before the big event
You are more likely to have a seizure if you are tired, so try and get as much rest during the day before you head off out. An afternoon nap could be a beneficial boost so that you can enjoy a fun filled evening.
Take your meds on time
Ensuring you take your medication on time reduces the risk of seizures. If your evening medication is due whilst you are out, set an alarm on your phone and make sure the vibrate function is on so that you can feel the alert even if you can’t hear it. Also make sure that at least one of your friends know what time you are due to take your medication so that they can help keep an eye on the time and remind you.
Position yourself carefully
Try and position yourself as far away from the fireworks and bonfire as possible. As boring as this may sound it means that you can still enjoy the show but your chances of having a seizure reduce, as the further away you are the light becomes less intense as well as the flickering being reduced, and the noise is also reduced. If you are sound sensitive also try and ensure that you are not positioned close to the speakers if they have music at the event.
Take the pressure off your brain
By covering one eye with a hand or an eye patch and wearing coloured polarised sunglasses you can help reduce the risk of triggering a seizure. Coloured or photochromic glasses (darkened lenses) reduce light sensitivity or visual distortions, whilst polarising sunglasses reduce reflection and glare. So, by putting the two steps together you can help reduce the amount of visual stimulus coming into the brain, so that the brain doesn’t have to work as hard to stay calm.
Enjoy the food and drink but give alcohol a miss
Now normally alcohol in moderation isn’t a big trigger for seizures, whereas most people will know that excessive alcohol can increase your risk of a seizure by increasing the excitability of your brain’s nerve cells and abnormal electrical brain activity. So, when your brain is already hypersensitive due to fireworks, bonfires, noise and the excitement of being out with friends and family for the evening, it is best to try and keep your brain as calm as possible. By sticking to soft drinks for the evening you can ensure you stay hydrated which will help reduce your risk of a seizure, and by enjoying a good meal before you come out and the traditional food and snacks on offer at the event you can ensure you stay full which can also help reduce your risk.
Wear industrial ear defenders
If you are sensitive to noise then the loud bangs from fireworks or the music that accompanies professional displays are enough to trigger a seizure. So, by wearing industrial ear defenders you can enjoy the show but significantly reduce the impact of the sounds going on around you.