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Febrile Seizures Aka “Fever Fits”- Let's Break Down the Fear

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

What Are Febrile Seizures?

A febrile seizure is a convulsion or fit in a child caused by raised body temperature (fever), often from an infection. Temperatures usually are above 37.5°C. Febrile means feverish, and seizures mean convulsions or fits.


They occur in young children with normal development without a history of neurologic symptoms. It can be frightening when your child has a febrile seizure, and the few minutes it lasts can seem like an eternity. Fortunately, they're usually harmless and typically don't indicate a serious health problem.


Febrile seizures can look serious, but most stop without treatment and don't cause other health problems. Some kids might feel sleepy after one, while others feel no lasting effects.


What are the Symptoms?

Usually, a child having a febrile seizure shakes all over and loses consciousness. Sometimes, the child may get very stiff or twitch in just one area of the body.


A child having a febrile seizure may:

· Have a fever higher than 37.5 C

· Lose consciousness

· Shake or jerk arms and legs

· Roll their eyes up

· Moan

· Vomit or urinate (pee) during the convulsions


Febrile seizures most often occur within 24 hours of the onset of a fever and can be the first sign that a child is ill.


Who Gets Febrile Seizures?

Febrile seizures happen in kids 6 months to 6 years old. They're most common in toddlers 12–18 months old.


Kids are more likely to have a febrile seizure if:

· They have a family history of febrile seizures.

· They've already had one before. About 1 in every 3 kids who have had one febrile seizure will have another, usually within 1–2 years of the first.

· They had a first febrile seizure when they were younger than 15 months old.


Most children outgrow having febrile seizures by the time they are 5-6 years old.

Febrile seizures are not considered epilepsy (seizure disorder). Kids who have a febrile seizure have only a slightly increased risk for developing epilepsy.


What causes febrile seizures?

No one knows why. Some studies suggest that they occur because of the way children’s developing brains interact with certain viruses. But no one is 100% certain what is the actual cause. What we do know is that a higher than normal body temperature causes febrile seizures. Even a low-grade fever can trigger a febrile seizure.


What to Do When Febrile Seizure Happens?

If your child has a febrile seizure, stay calm and:

· Gently place your child on the floor or the ground.

· Remove any nearby objects.

· Place your child on his or her side to prevent choking.

· Loosen any clothing around the head and neck.

· Watch for signs of breathing problems, including bluish color in the face.

· Try to keep track of how long the seizure lasts.


It's also important to know what NOT TO DO during a febrile seizure:

· Do not try to hold or restrain your child.

· Do not put anything in your child's mouth.

· Do not try to give your child fever-reducing medicine.

· Do not try to put your child into cool or lukewarm water to cool off.


When to Call 999?

Get emergency medical care if your child:

· has a febrile seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes

· the seizure involves only some parts of the body instead of the whole body

· has trouble breathing or turns blue

· isn't responding normally

· has another seizure within 24 hours


*A child who has missed getting some vaccines and has a febrile seizure could have a higher risk for meningitis. Get medical care right away if your child has any signs of meningitis, such as:

· a stiff neck

· a lot of vomiting

· in babies, a bulging soft spot on the head


Conclusion

Most febrile seizures produce no lasting effects. Simple febrile seizures don't cause brain damage, intellectual disability or learning disabilities, and they don't mean your child has a more serious underlying disorder.


Talk to us at Bright Star Baby & Child Clinic for more info on this topic.


“With Good Health, Our Children Can Shine Brighter”


Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/febrile-seizure/symptoms-causes/syc-20372522

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/febrile.html?WT.ac=ctg#catsick

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