Swimming with epilepsy

1. First and foremost, discuss the matter of swimming with your doctor and review guidelines that are specific to you or your child. Consider whether seizures are under sufficient control to permit swimming.

2. It’s a good idea to wear a floatation device that supports the head above water. It’s especially important for children and in some cases, adults with seizure disorders.

3. NEVER swim alone. Always swim with a buddy who’s a good swimmer. This is good basic advice whether one has epilepsy or not! Inform an adult nearby that your child has epilepsy and is a good enough swimmer to help if a seizure occurs in the water. Inform the lifeguards and swimming instructors that you/your child has epilepsy.

4. Do NOT get over-tired or too cold while in the water.

5. Do NOT swim if you have forgotten to take your seizure medication. Don’t let your seizure medications get wet.

6. If flashing lights trigger your seizures, wear polarised sunglasses to reduce the flicker effect of sunlight on the water and other reflective surfaces.

7. If a child has a seizure in water, he or she should be checked by a lifeguard or parent. If there is any possibility that water has been swallowed or breathed into the lungs, get medical check-up.