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Febrile Seizure (Children)

What Is Febrile Seizure

Febrile seizures are the most prevalent type of seizure in children, affecting 2–5% of children between six months and six years of age1.

After experiencing a first episode, approximately two-thirds of children do not encounter further febrile seizures2. On the other hand, one-third may experience recurrenct febrile seizures until the age of six. Although these seizures can be alarming for caregivers, those lasting under 15 minutes typically do not result in long-term health issues, such as brain damage. However, febrile seizures exceeding 30 minutes can lead to serious complications, such as oxygen deprivation to the brain, hence the importance of not allowing seizures to persist for extended periods. Only 3% of children with febrile seizures may eventually develop epilepsy, a condition involving seizures not related to fever3.

Source: 1PubMed, 2PubMed3PubMed

Causes Of Febrile Seizure

Febrile seizures are usually triggered by a rapid increase in fever, usually exceeding 38.3°C.

Signs And Symptoms Of Febrile Seizure

During a seizure, a child may eye-rolling, frothing at the mouth, and stiffening and jerking of the limbs, accompanied by loss of consciousness. Most febrile seizures stop spontaneously within five minutes and the child regains consciousness shortly after. In rare cases, seizures may last longer than 30 minutes.

Diagnosis And Treatment Options For Febrile Seizure

Parents often use fever-reducing medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen during a child's illness. While these medications alleviate symptoms and enhance comfort, studies indicate that they do not reduce the likelihood of a febrile seizure.

Doctors do not recommend anti-seizure medication to prevent recurrence of febrile seizure. The potential side effects of these regular medications do not justify their use, given that febrile seizures are typically brief and harmless.

Anti-convulsants are only prescribed in rare cases, particularly if your child has additional neurological problems. This will be discussed by your doctor.

Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Febrile Seizure

​What should I do when my child is having a seizure?

  • Remain calm.
  • Loosen your child's clothing.
  • Position your child to their side to allow any oral content to drain, preventing choking.
  • Place a flat, soft object under your child's head if available.
  • Clear the area of sharp objects or furniture to prevent injury.
  • Avoid attempting to restrain your child's tongue.
  • Do not try to revive your child by slapping, shaking or pouring water on them.
  • Refrain from giving your child any drink.
  • Do not hold down or restrain your child.
  • Stay with your child until normal breathing resumes and they regain consciousness.
  • Note that irritability and tiredness are common after a seizure. Provide calm reassurance.
  • Document the type and duration of the seizure, as this information is important.

Bring your child to the Children's Emergency immediately if your child:

Take your child to the Children's Emergency immediately if they:

  • Experience their first episode of febrile seizure.
  • Show signs of a stiff neck.
  • Become confused or delirious.
  • Exhibit persistent drowsiness or behavioural changes more than 30 minutes after the febrile seizure.
  • Appear unwell.
  • Experience more than one seizure in a day.
  • Have a seizure lasting over five minutes. In such cases, administer rectal diazepam as prescribed by your doctor, if available.
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