Last month I reviewed first aid for seizures. I am continuing this review with a special review of something called febrile seizures. The treatment for this condition slightly different. Febrile seizures are seizures or convulsions that occur in young children and are triggered by fever. The fever may accompany common childhood illnesses such as a cold, the flu, or an ear infection. Rarely, a child may not have a fever at the time of the seizure but will develop one a few hours later. During a febrile seizure, a child will lose consciousness and both arms and legs will shake uncontrollably. Sometimes during a febrile seizure, a child may lose consciousness without noticeably shaking or moving. Febrile seizures last only a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever above 101°F (38.3°C). Although they can be frightening for parents, brief febrile seizures do not cause any long-term health problems. Parents or caretakers should do the following:
Note the start time of the seizure. If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, call an ambulance.
Call an ambulance if the seizure is less than 5 minutes but the child does not seem to be recovering or acting normal soon.
Place the child on a protected surface such as the floor or ground to prevent accidental injury. Do not restrain or hold a child during a convulsion.
Position the child on his or her side or stomach to prevent choking. Nothing should ever be placed in the child’s mouth during a convulsion. Any object can obstruct the child’s airway.
Call your pediatrician if this is the child’s first febrile seizure and take the child to the doctor once the seizure has ended to check for the cause of the fever. A child who has a febrile seizure usually doesn’t need to be hospitalized.
There is no evidence that short febrile seizures cause brain damage. Even when the seizures last a long time, most children recover completely.
More information is available to parents through the National institute of Neurologic Disorders at this number or website: http://www.ninds.nih.gov 800-352-9424
*Please note, contact me if you are interested in becoming a Care Sharer or Friendly Visitor. We will have an annual meeting on Saturday, January 9, from 9AM to 11AM and welcome new members.