Viral illness is habitually accompanied by fever as well as symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms and others, and this will be dependent on the type of virus. Fever is a symptom that has been labelled with COVID-19. Fever can lead to a reduced seizure threshold and might trigger an upsurge in seizures. Thus, epilepsy patients need to be more cautious in the wake of the global health crisis of Coronavirus. (Althoughthe world is still learning about COVID-19 and its impact on epilepsy patients, it’s always better to be on the precautionary side).
One of the Mumbai’s best neurosurgeon, Dr.Gurneet Singh Sawhney has put together the following guidance for people suffering from epilepsy in light of the pandemic.
The best way now is to protect yourself and avoid being exposed to the virus. There are a number of ways epilepsy patients can protect themselves and the people around them. These include:
- Practice healthy personalhabits
- Wash your hands frequently and for a minimum 20 secondsatleast. Ensure to wash your hands if you by any chance sneezing, coughing or are in a public place.
- Leave reminders like a sticky note on a washroom mirror to help encourage hand washing for you, kids and people who might have trouble in remembering.
- Do not keep touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Utilize a hand sanitizer which comprises of at least 60% alcohol if soap and water not accessible.
- Shield your mouth and nose with a tissue if you sneeze or cough; or better cough into the inside of your elbow. Do not forget to throw tissue in the trash later and wash your hands again.
- Wear a proper mask if you are feeling sick and have to be around other people.
- Try to limit your exposure to others by social distancing
- If someone is noticeably sick near you then maintain your safe distance, aim for 5 or more feet away from the individual who is sick and if you can then remove yourself from the situation.
- Stop travelling in crowded spaces such as public transport and large assemblies of people.
- Check out for grocery home delivery services
- Avoid contact with surfaces that are not often cleaned.
- Consider other individuals that share your living space (e.g., partners, children, parents, etc) and their possible exposures to the virus – through their movement outside your house. Think about ways you can limit their exposure to the virus they might carry back to your living space.
- Leave shoes by the door after coming from outside.
- Clean and disinfect your house regularly
- Donot share your personal household items with anybody.
- Maintain a healthy diet with regular, balanced meals. Remember to stay well hydrated all day long while quarantined.
- Sleep is important for individuals of all ages. Try to get enough good quality sleep. Aim for a minimum of 8 hours of good quality sleep.
- Exercising is an important part of staying healthy physically and emotionally.
- Avoid any type of stress
- Say no to smoke.
- Restrict alcohol consumption if you are allowed to drink alcohol (Some people with epilepsy are restricted from any alcohol consumption).
- Stay well-connected during your time of isolation. Try out for ways you can connect with family and friends using phone, spcial media, email, or video chats.