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Discharge Instructions for Epilepsy

You have been diagnosed with epilepsy, a disorder of recurring seizures. When you have a seizure, a brief electrical disturbance occurs in your brain. There are different kinds of seizures, and each patient may have one or many types of seizures. Here are some guidelines for you and your family.

If You Have a Seizure

Ask friends and family members to learn seizure management. Also, tell them to do the following if you have a seizure:

  • Clear the area to prevent injury.

  • Position you on a flat, carpeted surface, if possible.

  • Don’t try to restrain you.

  • Don’t put anything in your mouth.

  • Turn you onto your side if you start to vomit.

  • Keep track of the date and time the seizure started, how long it lasted, whether or not you lost consciousness, a description of your body movements, what provoked the seizure (if known), and any injuries you suffered.

  • Stay with you until you regain consciousness.

  • Call 911 if the seizure is longer than 5 minutes, if there are multiple seizures, or if you do not begin to wake up after the seizure stops.  

Activities

Following are some things to consider:

  • Enjoy your normal activities. Most people with epilepsy lead normal lives.

  • Avoid hazardous activities, such as mountain climbing or scuba diving. A seizure under these conditions could lead to a fatal accident.

  • Do not swim alone or participate in other similar activities without others nearby.

  • Ask your doctor about any restrictions on driving or other activities.

  • Check with your state department of public safety to learn whether there are any driving limitations based on your condition.

Other Home Care

Other considerations:

  • Take your medication exactly as directed. Skipping doses can affect the way your body handles the medication, which could cause you to have a seizure.

  • Don’t drink alcohol or use any medication without talking with your doctor first.

  • Wear a medical alert pendant or bracelet that alerts others to your condition, especially if you are allergic to seizure medication.

  • Join a local support group. Ask your doctor for names and phone numbers.

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When to Seek Medical Attention

Tell your family members or friends to call 911 right away if you have:.

  • Seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes

  • Multiple seizures in a row

  • No recovery of consciousness after the seizure starts

Otherwise, have them call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Seizures that are getting longer and worse

  • Seizures that are different from those you’ve had in the past

  • Seizures strong enough to cause injury

  • Skin rash

  • Fever of 101.4°F (38.5°C) or higher

 

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