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A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child that’s caused by a fever. The fever is often from an infection. Febrile seizures occur in young, healthy children who have normal development and haven’t had any neurological symptoms before. It can be frightening when your child has a febrile seizure.
A febrile seizure is a neurological abnormality that occurs as a result of a peripheral infection, to which the immune system reacts by producing an inflammatory response thereby, inducing a fever and subsequently increasing the core temperature of the body.
Febrile seizures are convulsions that can happen when a young child has a fever above 100.4°F (38°C). (Febrile means “feverish.”) The seizures usually last for a few minutes and stop on their own. The fever may continue for some time.
Sometimes seizures may be caused or triggered by: High fever, which can be associated with an infection such as meningitis. Lack of sleep. Flashing lights, moving patterns or other visual stimulants.
Febrile seizures are convulsions that occur in a child who is between six months and five years of age and has a temperature greater than 100.4º F (38º C). The majority of febrile seizures occur in children between 12 and 18 months of age. Febrile seizures can be frightening to watch.
Generalized tonic-clonic seizure, like vigorous exercise, can cause a rise in body temperature. To describe the course of fever following a generalized seizure, the temperature curves of 93 hospitalized postictal patients were reviewed retrospectively.
The febrile group was defined as patients having a body temperature greater than 38.0 °C 24 h before or after the seizures. The afebrile group was defined as those having a body temperature less than 38.0 °C 24 h before and after the seizures.
Viruses implicated in the development of seizures and epilepsy include: herpes viruses, Japanese encephalitis virus, Nipah virus, HIV, influenza viruses, parainfluenza virus, rotavirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, cytomegalovirus and nonpolio picornavirus.
Illness: Fever, vomiting and diarrhea can lower the seizure threshold.
A febrile seizure may occur at night when you and your child are sleeping. Since brief febrile seizures do not cause harm, missing a brief seizure is not important. The noises of a long febrile seizure would almost certainly awaken you. Your child can sleep in his or her own bed.
CLINICAL BOTTOM LINE. There is no evidence that antipyretics reduce the risk of subsequent febrile convulsions in at risk children. Prescription of paracetamol following febrile seizures may provide comfort and symptomatic relief, but should not be recommended to prevent further febrile convulsions.
After the seizure, your child may be sleepy for up to an hour. A straightforward febrile seizure like this will only happen once during your child’s illness. Occasionally, febrile seizures can last longer than 15 minutes and symptoms may only affect one area of your child’s body.
Having a fever is a sign that something out of the ordinary is going on in your body. For an adult, a fever may be uncomfortable, but usually isn’t a cause for concern unless it reaches 103 F (39.4 C) or higher. For infants and toddlers, a slightly elevated temperature may indicate a serious infection.
The majority of children don’t need any medication for a febrile seizure. Treatment of recurrent febrile seizures includes all of the above plus taking a dose of diazepam (Valium) gel that’s administered rectally. You can be taught to give the treatment at home if your child has recurrent febrile seizures.
Only temperatures above 108° F (42° C) can cause brain damage. It’s very rare for the body temperature to climb this high. It only happens if the air temperature is very high.
- loss of consciousness (black out)
- twitching or jerking of arms and legs.
- breathing difficulty.
- foaming at the mouth.
- going pale or bluish in skin colour.
- eye rolling, so only the whites of their eyes are visible.
- your child may take 10 to 15 minutes to wake up properly afterwards.
Anything that interrupts the normal connections between nerve cells in the brain can cause a seizure. This includes a high fever, high or low blood sugar, alcohol or drug withdrawal, or a brain concussion. But when a person has 2 or more seizures with no known cause, this is diagnosed as epilepsy.
Febrile seizures usually happen on the first day and in the first hours of fever. Febrile seizures can be caused by: A temperature of 100.4˚ F or higher. A viral or bacterial infection such as flu, chickenpox, or an ear infection.
After an initial febrile seizure, physicians should reassure parents about the low risk of long-term effects, including neurologic sequelae, epilepsy, and death. However, there is a 15 to 70 percent risk of recurrence in the first two years after an initial febrile seizure.
Sometimes during a febrile seizure, a child may lose consciousness but will not noticeably shake or move. Although they can be frightening for parents, brief febrile seizures (less than 15 minutes) do not cause any long-term health problems.
- 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.
Importantly, getting sick with the flu also can cause febrile seizures. Flu illness can cause high fever and febrile seizures in children.
Head colds, lung infections or sinus infections (caused by viruses or bacteria) can often lead to a change in seizures. The seizures could be triggered by the physical stress of being sick, having a fever, or getting dehydrated if you aren’t eating or drinking well.
Although febrile seizures are the most common type of seizure associated with RSV infection, the proportion of patients with complex febrile seizures was higher than that of those with general febrile seizures. Transient cytotoxic edema may be a pathogenic mechanism in RSV-related encephalopathy with seizures.
Keep your fluids topped up all the time. Dehydration can make it more likely for you to have a seizure. This is particularly important when you are exercising.
The seizures may be due to direct invasion of brain tissue by the infecting organism, production of toxins by the organism or production of inflammatory mediators by the brain. Infectious processes in the brain can lead to breakdown of the blood–brain barrier and brain edema.
Any illness that causes a high temperature (fever) can cause a febrile seizure. Most occur with common illnesses such as ear infections, tonsillitis, colds, flu and other viral infections. Serious infections, such as pneumonia, kidney infections, meningitis, etc, are much less common causes.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a type of epilepsy. Patients with LGS experience many different types of seizures including: Tonic – stiffening of the body. Atonic – temporary loss of muscle tone and consciousness, causing the patient to fall.
Febrile seizures tend to run in families. The risk of having seizures with other episodes of fever depends on the age of your child. Children younger than 1 year of age at the time of their first seizure have about a 50% chance of having another febrile seizure.
Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are no better than placebo for preventing recurrences of febrile seizures.
However, a new paper in Pediatrics, Acetaminophen and febrile seizure recurrences during the same fever episode, has come to a different conclusion, finding rectally administered paracetamol is effective at preventing recurrence of febrile seizures.
van Stuijvenberg et al conclude that ibuprofen administration during febrile illness does not prevent recurrence of febrile seizures. Febrile seizures are a common reason for children to present to the emergency department (ED).
The present study has shown that a median of 37.5 days following prolonged febrile seizures, children show recognition memory impairments.
Capal: There is no scientific evidence linking febrile seizures to autism.
How long does CALPOL® take to work? CALPOL® Infant Suspension gets to work quickly on fever, and starts to reduce fever within 15 minutes.
At night, there is less cortisol in your blood. As a result, your white blood cells readily detect and fight infections in your body at this time, provoking the symptoms of the infection to surface, such as fever, congestion, chills, or sweating. Therefore, you feel sicker during the night.
Numbers that are cause for concern: 105°F – Go to the emergency room. 103°F or higher – Contact your health care provider. 101°F or higher – If you’re immunocompromised or over 65 years of age, and are concerned that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider.
High fevers are 103 degrees or above. A potentially dangerous fever begins when your temperature is at least 104 degrees. If you have a fever that is 105 degrees or higher, you need immediate medical attention.