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Safety advice for swimming highlighted

23 April, 2001

A clinical review in the British Medical Journal has highlighted the safety issues involved for people with epilepsy when swimming.

The review was in response to a case of 14 year old boy who drowned in a lake during a school outing after a tonic seizure.

The author of the review, Dr Frank Besag, Medical Director of the St Piers National Centre For Young People With Epilepsy, writes that people with epilepsy should avoid swimming in murky or deep water, suggesting that the safest option is in the shallow end of a clear swimming pool.

The article concludes that young people with epilepsy shouldn't be discouraged from swimming, however, adequate supervision, possibly on a one-to-one basis, is essential. However, the level of supervision is dependant on individual circumstances. The person supervising should be strong enough to resuce the swimmer and be aware of what action to take should a seizure occur.