Travel insurance for epilepsy
Being diagnosed with epilepsy doesn’t have to stop you from travelling. Travelling can enhance both independence and self-reliance for those with epilepsy.
If you have epilepsy, it might be difficult to find travel insurance to cover your needs. You will need specialist medical travel insurance for your epilepsy to ensure you’re fully covered in case you require medical assistance while on holiday.
If you do not declare your epilepsy as a pre-existing medical condition, you won’t be covered if you need medical treatment abroad, which can be costly. Having comprehensive epilepsy travel insurance can help to avoid this situation so you can travel with peace of mind.
Tips for travelling with epilepsy
Planning your holiday will help to avoid triggers
Planning a trip begins with the destination. Carefully research where you would like to go, the hotel and the surrounding areas to get an idea of what the destination is like and whether it will suit your needs. Asking your doctor for advice and planning your transportation well in advance will also help to avoid any potential triggers for your epilepsy.
Documentation and any medication you might need should be arranged in advance
It’s advisable to keep copies of important documentation with you, as well as leaving copies with someone at home. These include passports, bank card details, travel insurance documents and any emergency contact numbers.
Prior to travelling with your epilepsy medication, it can be beneficial to discuss your medication schedule with your doctor and obtain a letter detailing the names and doses of your medication. This is particularly important if you’re travelling between time zones to avoid confusion.
Make sure you take enough medication for your entire trip and more, in case of any travel delays.
Avoid keeping all of your medication supply in one place, and keep some in your hand luggage. You should check individual airline guidelines about this before travelling.
All medication should be carried in the container it was dispensed in and clearly show your name, the medication name and dose prescribed.
Avoid travelling alone
If you experience seizures frequently, it’s advisable to have a companion with you. They should be aware of what to do in case of a seizure and be able to tell the people around you what is happening. This is especially important when flying with epilepsy to ensure your safety.
If your GP has advised it’s safe for you to travel alone, it’s still important to provide someone at home with a daily itinerary and keep in contact with at least one person. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are a good way of doing this easily.
(They also give you a chance to show off your great pictures!)
Maintaining your routine while abroad
Maintaining certain aspects of your routine can help to avoid triggering any seizures.
- If possible, try to keep the same sleeping pattern.
- Stick to the same medication schedule.
- Eat regular, nutritious meals.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
While you’re on holiday your routine will undoubtedly change. Taking certain precautions and making sure you’re vigilant will help to ensure a stress-free holiday. Although you might not want to sit down for a break, take your time, it’s certainly better to pace yourself and remain calm and relaxed.
Flying with epilepsy
Many people with epilepsy worry about flying with their condition. Airlines are usually very accommodating and willing to make your flight as comfortable as possible. It’s always best to check individual airline guidelines.
For your own peace of mind, carry a doctor’s letter which provides directions for the cabin crew in case of a seizure.
Making sure you leave plenty of time to get to the airport will also help to minimise stress.
Jet lag can be a trigger for seizures, so get as much rest as possible when you land at your destination and remain hydrated throughout your flight.
Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet
If you have epilepsy, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet. This can provide details of your seizure type and current medication, which can be especially useful when in a foreign country.
A vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a treatment for uncontrolled epilepsy. It’s implanted in the chest wall and sends electric pulses to the brain to help prevent seizures. Airport security has tightened greatly in recent years, so it may be beneficial to carry a VNS registration card to avoid any unnecessary delays.