Epilepsy and drowning
People with epilepsy need to take additional precautions to prevent drowning, and must follow their doctor's advice on whether it is safe to swim and participate in aquatic activities.

Medical conditions should be taken into consideration when in and around the water. Some of the conditions include cardiac-related conditions, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and autism. Those with dementia, epilepsy, and Parkinson disease are over-represented in drowning when compared with the general population.

Research has found that epilepsy is a risk factor for drowning, particularly in childhood among those aged 0 to 14 years and those aged 65 years and over.

People with epilepsy are known to be at an increased risk of drowning. This risk is thought to be between five and 15 times greater than those without epilepsy.

The home environment such as the bathroom, and in swimming pools are the most common places for epilepsy-related drowning.

People with epilepsy can be very competent and confident swimmers, but need to take extra precautions. First and foremost, consult your doctor about water safety and whether it is safe for you to undertake water-related activities. This is especially important if there has been a recent change to your medication or if your epilepsy is poorly controlled with medication.

If you have epilepsy, it is vital that you take your anti-seizure medication regularly as directed by your doctor. Do not swim if you have not taken your medication as prescribed.

Depending on the frequency and severity of seizures, some people may be advised not to swim at all, while others may be able to undertake water-related activities by taking appropriate precautions. Do not swim if you are tired or feeling unwell.

Drowning deaths in people with epilepsy
Occurred in the bath
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Occurred in swimming pools
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