Febrile Seizures - Information on Febrile Seizures

By: james sameul


Febrile seizures occur in young children at a time in their development when the seizure threshold is low. This is a time when young children are susceptible to frequent childhood infections such as upper respiratory infection, otitis media, viral syndrome, and they respond with comparably higher temperatures. Animal studies suggest a possible role of endogenous pyrogens, such as interleukin 1, that, by increasing neuronal excitability, may link fever and seizure activity.

Febrile seizures aren't harmful to a child. Even though seeing your child have a febrile seizure is frightening, your child will be okay. A febrile seizure doesn't cause brain damage. Also, your child can't swallow his or her tongue during a seizure (it is physically impossible for someone to swallow his or her tongue). Febrile seizures usually last just a few minutes. It's very unusual for a febrile seizure to last more than 5 minutes. Usually, a child who has had a febrile seizure does not need to be hospitalized and probably does not need X-rays or a brain wave test.

Febrile seizures can be scary to witness but remember that they're fairly common, not usually a symptom of serious illness, and in most cases don't lead to other health problems. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your doctor. The doctor will examine your child and ask you to describe the seizure. In most cases, no additional treatment is necessary. The doctor may recommend the standard treatment for fevers, which is acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile
Seizure and more than one-third of these children will have additional
Febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them. Febrile
Seizures usually occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers. Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or after 3 years of age. The older a child is when the first febrile seizure occurs, the less likely that child is to have more.

During the seizure leave your child on the floor, although you may want to slide a blanket under him if the floor is hard. Move him only if he is in a dangerous location. Loosen any tight clothing, especially around the neck. If possible, open or remove clothes from the waist up. If he vomits, or if saliva and mucus build up in the mouth, turn him on his side or stomach. Don't try to restrain your son, or stop the seizure movements.

Don't try to force anything into his mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue, as this increases the risk of injury.
Febrile seizures may begin with the sudden sustained contraction of muscles on both sides of a child's body -- usually the muscles of the face, trunk, arms, and legs. A haunting, involuntary cry or moan often emerges from the child, from the force of the muscle contraction. The contraction continues for seemingly endless seconds, or tens of seconds. The child will fall, if standing, and may pass urine. He may vomit. He may bite his tongue. The child may not be breathing, and may begin to turn blue. Finally, the sustained contraction is broken by repeated brief moments of relaxation -- the child's body begins to jerk rhythmically. The child is unresponsive to the parent's voice.

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