Unusually warm weather can increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy

This week (12 June 2023) has seen a rise in temperatures across the UK, with BBC weather reporting that it will stay hot and humid over the next few days. Severe hot weather is dangerous to everyone, but unusually warm weather can increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy. According to a 2021 study in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior, increased body temperature has a critical role in seizure threshold and seizure-related brain damage.

With climate change causing global temperatures to rise, there is the potential for more heatwaves.

So, what can you do to be prepared and stay safe?

Reducing risks

  • Check your local weather forecast so that you know when hot weather is expected.
  • Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day, which is between 11am and 3pm.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise.
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Switch off all electrical equipment when not in use – equipment should not be left in ‘standby mode’ as this generates heat.
  • Open windows as early as possible in the morning or overnight to allow stored heat to escape, when outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors keep windows almost closed.
  • Use fans if the room temperature is below 35°c.

Keeping children safe

  • Provide children with plenty of water (such as water from a cold tap) and encourage them to drink more than usual.
  • Children should wear loose, light-colored clothing to help keep cool and sunhats with wide brims to avoid sunburn.
  • Regularly apply sun cream.

Sleep deprivation

Hot nights can make it more difficult to sleep, causing people to feel tired and stressed – both of which are common triggers for seizures.

To avoid sleep deprivation:

  • Keep regular sleeping hours.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks late in the day.
  • Try to wind down by listening to a relaxation CD, reading a book or writing a ‘to do’ list.
  • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and tidy.


Source: epilepsy.org.uk