Febrile seizures are fits or convulsions occurring in children due to increase in body temperature. It is frightening to see your child having seizure, but simple febrile seizures do not have a long term impact on child’s brain development.
Causes of Febrile seizure
- It normally occurs due to a spike in body temperature which may be due to infection either viral or bacterial.
- Febrile seizures can also occur post vaccinations.
- Incidence of febrile seizure increases if there is a family history of it in either parent.
- Also, chances of seizures increase if a child gets seizure once.
Which age group is affected
It is seen in children between 6 months to 5 years of age. It is most commonly seen in toddlers.
Types of febrile seizures
There are mostly 2 types of febrile seizures.
Simple febrile seizures – It is the most common type of Febrile seizure. In this seizure, child gets generalised fit all over the body. It lasts for normally less than 5 minutes & occurs only once in 24 hours.
Complex febrile seizures – In this type, seizure occurs focally in either in 1 hand or leg or face. It can last for more than 5- 15 minutes. It can occur more than once in 24 hours.
Most of the time seizures occur at home. First & foremost thing to do when you see your child having fit is to not panic. Just roll your child on either side, this will stop it.
Make sure you keep your child’s airway patent by pressing on to the jaw. This will prevent your child from tongue bites & choking.
Once your child regains consciousness, give a dose of paracetamol as per the weight of your child. If child is unconscious, then one can do tepid sponging / put in a suppository.
Once seizure stop, take your child to your paediatrician.
Occasionally if seizures lasts for more than 5-10 minutes, then Midazolam intranasal sprays are used.
When to hospitalise
Not every child with seizure needs to be hospitalised. However certain conditions require hospitalisation
- If seizure lasts more than 15 minutes
- Child does not regain consciousness post seizure.
- If it’s a complex seizure.
Investigations are done to find out cause of fever. These include CBC, calcium profile, random blood sugar, urine routine, chest x-ray ( if child has cough).
In case of complex febrile seizure- a lumbar puncture for CSF testing, EEG, CT / MRI may be needed in addition to above tests.
Precautions to be taken
- Once a child gets febrile seizure, make sure to always keep a fever medicine with you at all times
- Main aim is not allow the fever to rise
- If medicine is not available, then do tepid sponging
- Parents should inform the school teacher / authorities that their child has a history of febrile seizure so that they are aware of it
- As child grows older( above 6 years) these seizures stop on its own
- Very rarely, anticonvulsant medicines need to be taken