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Epilepsy Health Center

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Epilepsy and Home Safety

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    Epilepsy creates opportunities for the whole family to be involved in home safety. It's a good idea for everyone in the family to walk through your house and take note of any potential danger areas.

    Here are several suggestions to help make your house safer for someone who has epilepsy:

    Recommended Related to Epilepsy

    Understanding Seizures -- Symptoms

    Symptoms of seizures vary widely, depending on the part of the brain affected by the electrical misfiring. If a very small part of the brain is affected, you might sense only an odd smell or taste. In other cases, you could have hallucinations or convulsions, or you could lose consciousness. Generalized tonic-clonic. This type of seizure is sometimes preceded by an aura (awareness of a strange odor, taste, or vision). You might lose consciousness, fall, and experience muscle rigidity (stiffness)...

    Read the Understanding Seizures -- Symptoms article > >

    General steps

    • Consider carpet for areas without it. As a rule, carpet tends to be safer than tile or other hard surfaces.
    • Close the fireplace screen when there is a fire burning. Make sure that a person who has uncontrolled seizures is not left alone in a room when there is a fire in the fireplace.
    • If you use a space heater, choose one that doesn't tip over.
    • Use electric and home appliance devices that have automatic shut-off switches.
    • Use chairs that have arms to keep from falling off.
    • Put up safety gates to keep children from falling down stairs or to keep your child in the house in case you have a seizure.

    The bathroom

    • Make sure the bathroom doors open outward rather than inward, so that they can still be opened in case you fall.
    • Check the bathtub drain to see that it is working properly.
    • Keep the water in the tub at low levels.
    • Install a shower or tub seat with a safety strap in the tub.
    • Keep the water heater temperature low to prevent scalding.
    • Keep all electrical appliances away from the sink or bathtub.

    The Kitchen -- Consider these safety measures if someone in your family has epilepsy with frequent seizures.

    • Use a microwave oven rather than a stove to cook. If you do use the stove, use the back burners only.
    • Use plastic utensils and containers.
    • Use cups with lids (commuter or sippy cups) to prevent spills.
    • Consider using prepared meals and precut meat so that you don't have to use a knife.
    • Slide hot food containers along the counter or use a cart to move them from room to room, rather than pick them up.
    • Wear rubber gloves when washing the dishes.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on May 25, 2014
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