Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is continuing to impact on many aspects of our lives.  We know that many people affected by epilepsy are having a particularly difficult time at the moment.

We are currently faced with so much information about COVID-19 on social media and TV.  Some is misleading, and it can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction.  Too much information at once may also cause anxiety and affect your mental health.  Try and restrict yourself to information from reliable sources such as NHS Inform in Scotland and the Scottish Government website

Are you more at risk of catching COVID-19 if you have epilepsy?

There is no evidence that you are more likely to catch COVID-19 because you have epilepsy, unless you have other underlying health conditions which may compromise your immune system.  Epilepsy itself does not affect your immune system.

Does COVID-19 put me at a higher risk of complications?

A study published in the British Medical Journal has shown that people with epilepsy are at a slightly increased risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19.  The study found that people with epilepsy are slightly more likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 than the general population.

COVID-19 vaccines – are they safe for people with epilepsy?

All COVID-19 vaccines have to go through a rigorous approval process by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) for safety and effectiveness.  The Association of British Neurologists have stressed that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with neurological conditions, including epilepsy.

Given the slightly higher risk of complications for people with epilepsy if infected with COVID-19, the safest way to protect yourself is by getting vaccinated.

Vaccine side effects

COVID-19 vaccines, similar to the flu vaccine, can have side effects for a brief period such as a headache, tiredness or running a temperature.

If this is a potential trigger for your seizures, take extra care after getting the COVID-19 vaccine and make sure you get plenty of rest, stay well hydrated and seek medical advice if necessary.  If you have any specific concerns about how the COVID-19 vaccine may affect you, contact your epilepsy specialist nurse or your neurologist.

Have a look at our Epilepsy and COVID-19 – keeping safe and well publication for more detailed information.  We constantly update this to provide you with the latest information on COVID-19 relevant to people with epilepsy. 

 

Our helpline 0808 800 2200 is always here for you to listen, answer any questions or signpost you to someone else.  These can be stressful times, don’t be alone, speak to us.

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