What you need to know ahead of firework night
November 5 will be here soon, which means Bonfire Night will be here along with it! The Autumn breeze fills the air, while fireworks fill the London skies as well as many other areas across the U.K. This can be a joyous time with family and friends, but those with epilepsy may find themselves in a predicament.
How can we partake in festivities while keeping ourselves safe? Are you ready for Bonfire Night?
Before heading out to your festivities, make sure you have a few things handy such as:
- A watch/charged phone with a clock
- Your medication(s)/extra medication
- Something to drink/snacks
- Emergency medication
- Medical alert ID – if you do not have one, take an index card and write in big letter “Medical Alert” and on the back place your name, date of birth, medication(s), diagnosis, and emergency contact
It will also be beneficial to have a plan of action developed between you and whomever it is you are attending festivities with. This way, everyone will be on the same page and prepared if a situation occurred. You will also want to discuss how emergency medication should be administered and when to call an ambulance. What else may be beneficial, of course depending on the type of seizures associated with your epilepsy, is preparing a med-pack/first aid kit. This can include items such as gloves, bandages, notebook and pen, hair tie, and anything else you may need specific to your seizure.
Let the Show Begin!
While firework displays can be absolutely captivating – it may affect those with photosensitive epilepsy. Here are some quick tips to help reduce the chances of triggering a seizure:
- Take your medication on time – things can get hectic when meeting up with friends and celebrating but be sure to set an alarm just in case so you remember to take your medication. This is your first defense against a seizure.
- Get sleep before the event – Lack of sleep can lower your seizure threshold, so make sure you get plenty of sleep, especially if you have a long night ahead.
- Eat, drink, and be merry – Be sure to stay hydrated and ear a proper meal.
Now for the Finale
- Cover one eye – do you start to feel funny when the colorful lights glisten? How about during the finale? This can be tough for those with photosensitive epilepsy but surprisingly, covering one eye can be beneficial in preventing a seizure. This reduces the amount of visual stimulus coming into the brain; therefore, the brain does not have to work as hard to stay calm.
- Do not sit up close – that may sound like bummer but the further away you are, the less likely it will trigger a seizure due to the light being less intense as well as the flickering being reduced by the fireworks.
- Polarized sunglasses – wearing sunglasses at night may sound silly but this can actually help reduce your odds of a seizure – especially for those with photosensitive epilepsy. Now, they are probably going to be more of use during the day, but if you know the flickering of the fireworks or large bonfires will probably leave you feeling uneasy, go pick up a pair. If you are wondering what type of lenses, some research articles suggest blue lenses but again, this depends on the person.
- Let someone else drive – it has been a long night, you watched a beautiful light show, and now it is time to call it night; well for some. On your way home, if you are able to drive – ask someone else to. This will not just keep yourself safe, but others around you too. Seizures can strike at any time and is better to stay on the safe side. Do not be afraid to ask a friend.
Do not forget, at any point that you begin to feel an aura or a twitch – tell someone. Let someone know that you do not feel okay and get yourself to a safe area. If you know it will result in a tonic-clonic/convulsing type of seizure, get low to the ground and away from the waterfront if you are near one. Make sure you are not near any hard objects and that someone is with you and ready. If you are unsure what the resulting seizure may be, take the precaution and get low.
Are You Ready?
While it may seem like a lot of work, your health and safety are worth it. No one wants to spend a holiday in the hospital while everyone else is out and about. Take care of yourself and follow these tips to ensure a safe time. Time to light up the sky.
Written by: Samantha Medeiros