When your little one is sick and has a fever it can be stressful for you. If you little one has a fever then starts having a seizure things can get a lot more stressful and scary in a matter of seconds. While a febrile seizure can be scary and make any parent worry, there are some things you need to know about febrile seizures.
What is a febrile seizure
Febrile means fever, and a febrile seizure is convulsions that happen during a fever in children between the ages of 3 months and 6 years. They happen most often happen in toddlers between the ages of 12 and 18 months. The seizure typically lasts a few seconds to a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever over 100.4 degrees F.
A febrile seizure usually ends without treatment. Having one febrile seizure does not mean that your child has brain damage or epilepsy, but it can increase your child’s risk of having a febrile seizure in the future. Some kids will be sleepy after a febrile seizure.
No one is sure why febrile seizures happen, but there are several thoughts. One thought is that it is how fast a fever spikes and not how high the fever is. It is also thought that febrile seizures are linked to certain viruses and the way kids developing brains react to the virus and the fever.
If there is a family history of febrile seizures it increases your child’s risk of having a febrile seizure. For example, if a parent or sibling had a febrile seizure when they were younger, it increases their risk. One in three kids who have a febrile seizure will have another one, usually within 1-2 years of the first, but for the most part they will have outgrown it by the age of 5.
Febrile seizures generally do not cause any long term damage. The majority of the risk is from injury from falling off a surface or choking on saliva, which can be prevented with proper first aid.
What should I do?
If your child has a febrile seizure the first thing you need to do is remain calm and make sure your child is on a safe surface such as the floor. You want your child somewhere that they cannot fall off and get hurt. Also, make sure to lay your child on their side to prevent choking. Watch for any breathing problems and any color changes around your child’s lips. If you suspect that your child is having a febrile seizure, make sure you call 911 or take them to the emergency room right away to make sure it wasn’t a more serious type of seizure.
There are also things you should never do if your child is having a seizure. Never try to restrain your child, do not put anything in your child’s mouth, and do not put your child in a lukewarm bath to cool off. You can give medication to help reduce the fever, but only after the seizure is over. You should always take your child to the hospital after a seizure, so you can even hold off on medication until you get to the hospital to be sure the seizure is over and to make sure they can get an accurate temperature reading.
Once it is determined that your child had a febrile seizure, you can treat fevers at home as needed. It is not recommended though that you give medication around the clock, you should wait for a fever to occur. Giving acetaminophen or ibuprofen around the clock will not prevent a febrile seizure from happening.
Has your child ever experienced a febrile seizure? How did you react?
If you want to see the rest of my A to Z Challenge posts, check out the first post of the challenge.