Preparing to fly
1. Talk to your doctor about your medication
Before flying, check whether you will need any paperwork to travel with your medicine. Ensure you are prescribed enough medicine, longer than the expected length of your trip, to cover possible loss or potential delays. More information can be found in our guide to flying with medication.
2. Talk to your doctor about vaccinations
Most vaccines are safe for those with epilepsy, and will not affect seizure control, or anti-epileptic drugs. However some anti-malarial medication can provoke seizures and will not be suitable if you have epilepsy. If you plan on heading to a country where anti-malarial medication is recommended, speak to your doctor, who can advise you which medication will be the most suitable for you.
You can find out more by visiting our travel vaccinations guide.
3. Consider your destination
If stress or jet-lag triggers your seizures, then consider whether it is worth risking a long-haul flight. It will also be important to consider the best time of year to travel. Many popular tourist destinations have hot climates, which can cause fatigue and trigger seizures. Travelling during off-peak months, usually between November and March, can mean both cooler climates and cheaper prices.
4. Consider your destination - is there a time difference?
Flying to a destination in a different time zone can present difficulties when it comes to timing your medicine. It might mean that taking your medicine at your usual time will fall in the middle of the night, for example. In the weeks before flying, you might be able to gradually change the times that you take your medicine. These changes will depend on your arrival destination and how far you are travelling. You may find it helpful to ask your doctor for help with planning and more advice.
5. Check if you need medical clearance
Each airline will have a different policy so it is important to check in advance. A lot of airlines will follow the International Air Travel Association (IATA) medical guidelines that state that if you have had a tonic-clonic seizure less than 24 hours before your flight, you will require medical clearance before you are allowed to fly. If you have any concerns, speak to your GP.