Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Many children have seizures, known as febrile seizures, which are triggered by fever or a sudden rise in temperature in babies and small children. Many people have heard of seizures caused by epilepsy, but febrile seizures are different from epileptic seizures, which are recurrent periods of unconsciousness and convulsions, and are not triggered by fever.
About one out of 25 otherwise healthy children will have at least one febrile seizure. They usually occur between the ages of 6 months and 5 years in children whose immediate family has a history of febrile seizures. If a child has a seizure soon after a fever begins or if their temperature is relatively low, the child’s risk of having more seizures is higher.
While seeing your child loose consciousness and go into convulsions is scary for a parent, the majority of seizures associated with fever are harmless.
During a seizure:
Stay calm, but act immediately to prevent injury.
Place the child on his or her side or stomach on the floor or the ground. Make sure that they child is away from any hard or sharp objects.
Loosen any tight clothing, especially around the neck.
Do not hold down a child who is having a seizure.
Remove anything that is in the child’s mouth, but do not put anything into his or her mouth.
Make sure that your child is breathing and call for emergency help if your child’s lips have turned a bluish color.
After your child has a seizure, he or she may be drowsy or confused. Febrile seizures usually don’t last for longer than a few minutes, but if the seizure lasts for longer than 15 minutes the child should be taken to the nearest medical facility.
This type of seizure is hard to prevent, as it is usually the first sign of a fever. Febrile seizures are not necessarily prevented by fever-lowering medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. The majority of children that suffer from febrile seizures do not need to be treated with medication.
Remember that the most important thing for a parent to do when their child is having a seizure is to remain calm. Febrile seizures are harmless and they do not cause brain damage. Contact your child’s doctor as soon as possible after the seizure because fever is often a sign of infection.