People suffering from epilepsy may need to give more attention to their illness at the time of the pandemic. As the coronavirus disease spreads and infects more people, doctors have also unearthed additional information on how COVID-19 can impact epileptic patients and the risk of seizures.

Those who have epilepsy prior to COVID-19 showed that their risk for having seizures appear to be low. A survey done by epilepsy specialists showed that one-third of the doctors who responded revealed that they had patients who were epileptic, and yet even when they experienced COVID-19, there was no change in the frequency of their seizures. What the doctors emphasised was that the patients must be mindful of dealing with increased stress levels, lack of access to specialty care, shortage in medication, and also sleep disturbances, as these could give rise to an epileptic seizure.

In US News, doctors have also found that people who had bouts with brain injury or a stroke before getting infected with COVID-19 are at a higher risk of having seizures as compared to those who did not suffer from these brain issues. Although there were early reports which showed that coronavirus patients did have seizures, the risk for those with brain-related ailments was notably higher.

For those who experience seizures while suffering from COVID-19, the use of anti-seizure medication will be helpful. Those who have serious illnesses may have to make use of drugs to treat viruses and inflammation. There must only be proper management of medications in order to prevent the side effects and to minimise the drug interaction.

Epilepsy and COVID-19. Photo: Pixabay

Dr Elaine Wyllie, M.D., renowned epilepsy specialist and a professor in Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, provided essential tips for those who have epilepsy, especially amid the pandemic. Patients must take their doses of anti-seizure medication and communicate well with their doctors.

Being able to maintain good sleep and to exercise regularly will also greatly contribute to the patient's health. Being proactive, receiving the flu vaccine, protecting oneself through social distancing, wearing masks, and constantly washing hands will play a role in helping epileptic patients get through the pandemic.