Managing Epilepsy Amid COVID Pandemic

By Dr Madhusudan B.K, Senior Consultant Neurologist & HOD Stroke & Epilepsy Specialist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital

COVID-19 is now being called a pandemic and it well deserves to be so. It has taken the world down, is giving us the highlights of what it was like back in the dark ages. It has terrorized people and made them lock themselves in their homes. This virus has killed lakhs while on its march around the globe. People with low immunity and any underlying chronic conditions are more susceptible to the virus, it’s now proven. But what about neurological conditions? Are people with conditions like epilepsy vulnerable to this disease?

If you are someone with any neurological condition, or you have anyone in your family with such condition then you must be overwhelmed with questions and doubts. Don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological condition that leads to recurrent seizures. A seizure happens when there is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. 50 million people worldwide and an estimated 5 million people in India suffer from epilepsy.

Anyone can develop epilepsy, but it is more common in the elderly and young children and is more common in males than in females. There is no cure for it, but the disorder can be managed with medication and various other strategies.

COVID-19 Risks To People Suffering From Epilepsy

There is no evidence or studies to prove that people with epilepsy alone have low immunity and are vulnerable to COVID-19. Having seizures doesn’t mean that the person has low immunity, it is a neurological disorder. If the person has any underlying condition or any chronic disease, then the immunity may be compromised. The bottom line is that suffering from epilepsy alone doesn’t increase the risk of COVID-19.

Can Epilepsy Medication Take A Toll On The Immune System

Most seizure medications do not affect the immune system. However, there are some medications like ACTH, everolimus, immunotherapies, etc that can affect the immune system. Regardless of what medications you are taking, you mustn’t stop them without consulting your doctor.

Managing Stress

This is a stressful time and there is no way out of it. But if you keep stressing yourself over everything you might end up affecting your health. It is suggested that instead of over thinking, practice mindfulness and ways to manage stress. Here are some tips:

  • Set daily routines
  • Eat healthily and don’t skip meals
  • Give time for relaxing activities into your routines – reading, listening to music, drawing or painting – whatever is enjoyable for you
  • Take breaks from the news. Avoid the news at night if you cannot sleep well
  • Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation, deep breathing, quiet listening, tai chi, yoga, etc
  • Connect with others. Call family or friends, text message or set up video calls. Do whatever works for you.
Dr Madhusudan B.K,
Senior Consultant Neurologist & HOD Stroke & Epilepsy Specialist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.

 

Tags: Coronavirus   

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