When you have a chronic illness, such as epilepsy, peanut allergies, or
diabetes, you need an ally at your place of work.
Who should that ally be, how does he need to handle himself, and what should
he do in case of an emergency? Here are some practical tips experts offer WebMD
that will help you balance your health with your career.
Coping with a teenager can be difficult for any parent, but teens with epilepsy pose additional problems. What if your teen won't take his medicine? Will he be safe driving? Will she put herself at risk of having more seizures by drinking or taking drugs?
Parents don't have complete control over their teens, as much as they may wish to. And letting your teen have greater independence is crucial for healthy development. Once your teen goes away to college or moves out of the home, you're going to...
"Start by talking to your doctor," says Susan Kerner, director of
the Employee Assistance Program for Southern NH Health System in Nashua, N.H.
"Your doctor can help you better understand and articulate what your
symptoms are, how severe they are, and exactly what you need to be prepared
Next, find out if the company you work for has a corporate or employee
"It's sometimes helpful to talk to an occupational health or corporate
health representative who can give you words of wisdom," says Kerner.
"They are experienced in areas such as helping employees deal with issues
like these in the workplace."
You should also ask yourself if your chronic illness will require certain
accommodations, like a different work schedule because of medications, or
frequent breaks. If that is the case, then a discussion with human resources is
"Talk to someone from human resources about your health needs at work,
especially if you need them to be aware of certain issues that might impact
your work schedule," says Kerner.
Then, it's time to talk to the people you spend eight or more hours a day
with, and help them better understand how they can help with your chronic
"You need to tell the people who work physically near you, as well as
your manager, so practically, if there is an emergency, they can handle the
situation," says Kerner.
So what, exactly, do they need to understand about your chronic illness in
case of an emergency?
Your Chronic Illness: What They Need to Know
"Be realistic about what they need to know," says Kerner. "Make
people aware while not creating excessive concern, and alleviate their fears
about what to do when something happens."