A febrile seizure is defined as a convulsion brought about by erratic electrical activity in the nerve cells of the brain that is triggered by fever. The precise cause is still unknown. An episode might arise if the temperature of the child increases or drops rapidly. Generally, a seizure could not be predicted or prevented.
A febrile seizure typically affects children between 6 months up to 5 years old. In most cases, it lasts for 3-5 minutes.
The seizure might only affect an arm or one side of the body which is localized and later progresses to the entire body which becomes generalized. It can also affect both sides of the body at the start.
What are the signs?
It is important to note that not all symptoms might be present.
- Fever that is high or there is a rapid increase in the body temperature
- Fainting or loss of consciousness that lasts for 30 seconds up to 5 minutes
- Biting of the tongue or cheek
- Generalized muscular contraction and stiffness that lasts for 15-20 seconds
- Clenched jaw or teeth
- Violent rhythmic muscle contractions and relaxation that lasts for 1-2 minutes
- Loss of control on urine or stool
- Rolling of the eyes backwards
- Absence of breathing or difficulty breathing during an episode and bluish skin
What should I do?
- If a child is experience a febrile seizure, you should stay calm.
- Make sure that the child is protected from injury.
- Do not attempt to hold or restrain the child during a seizure.
- The child should be turned onto his/her side in case vomiting occurs.
- Do not place anything inside the mouth of the child.
- Any tight or constricted clothing must be loosened.
- The head of the child must be supported with a cushion or pillow.
- Note down the length of the episode, movements and body parts affected
- Get in touch with a doctor.
- Once a febrile seizure settles, the child might be confused for a few minutes as the brain takes a break and recharges.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on a febrile seizure is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage one, register for a first aid and CPR course with Victoria First Aid.