Febrile Seizure - Health Center

Febrile Seizure

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Febrile Seizure: Basic Overview

A Febrile Seizure is a convulsion which is caused commonly amongst young children. This is accompanied by a spike in the body temperature, resulting from an infection. The seizure lasts for a few minutes, but can be alarming to the parents.

Febrile Seizures are a resultant response from the child’s brain to the fever. However, the seizures aren’t as dangerous as they appear to be. They are usually harmless and don’t indicate a long term problem. It is important to contact the doctor in case a child suffers from a seizure in order to evaluate the condition. 

Causes of Febrile Seizure:

In most of the cases, a febrile Seizure is caused due to a spike in the body temperature of the child. However, the following are the major causes behind the seizure:

  1. Viral or Bacterial Infection: In most of the cases, a bacterial or viral fever can trigger the seizure in case of children. Childhood illnesses, such as respiratory infections and roseola are known to be associated with Febrile Seizures. A very serious cause of Febrile Seizure is an infection to the child’s brain and the spinal cord such as meningitis and encephalitis.
  2. Post Immunization Seizures: The risk of contracting Febrile Seizures can increase manifold after the childhood immunization for diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Low grade fever can occur after the vaccination. In case a seizure occurs, it is caused by the fever which accompanies the vaccination. 

Signs and Symptoms of Febrile Seizures:

The symptoms for Febrile Seizure can vary from mild to severe. A child suffering from a seizure may experience the following symptoms:

  1.       Fever higher than 100.4 F
  2.       Losing the consciousness
  3.       Shaking or jerking the arms and legs on both sides of the body
  4.       Rolling back the eyes of the head

Kinds of Febrile Seizures:

The following are the major kinds of Febrile Seizures:

  1. Simple Febrile Seizures: These are the most common kinds of Febrile Seizures which can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes. These seizures tend to begin in a generalized tonic clonic way and don’t involve just the staring or shaking of one part of the body.
  2. Complex Febrile Seizures: This kind of seizure lasts for more than 15 minutes and can reoccur within a 24 hour period. 

Tests and Diagnosis of Febrile Seizures:

The doctor usually asks the patient to go for the following tests in case they suspect Febrile Seizures:

  1.       Physical Examination
  2.       Blood Tests
  3.       Urine Tests

These tests can help to determine the causes of fever and febrile Seizures. In case your doctor suspects a central nervous system infection, a spinal tap may be necessary. In this procedure, the doctor will insert a needle into the lower back in order to remove a small sample of the spinal fluid. This test is done in order to reveal the signs of infection in the cerebro spinal fluid.

Some other tests, such as the EEG can be done in order to measure the brain activity of the child. 

Treatment and Drugs for Febrile Seizures:

It is not critical to lower the child’s fever in order to stop a febrile seizure. However, it is important to make the child comfortable and safer by laying them on the bed in case of a seizure. Most Febrile Seizures tend to stop on their own after a couple of minutes. However, in case the seizure lasts for more than 10 minutes or keeps on reoccurring, it is important to seek medical attention.

In case of serious episodes of seizures which last more than 15 minutes, the doctor’s may prescribe the medication intravenously in order to stop the seizure. It is important to determine the source of the seizure in order to seek proper treatment option for the same.

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