Fever Seizures in Children
For an Auntie caring for a sick niece or nephew, it can be nerve-wracking in and of itself, but if they end up having a seizure or a convulsion from the fever (also called a febrile seizure), it can be terrifying for a Savvy Auntie.
Febrile seizures can occur in young children who have rapid increases in their body temperature over a short time period, usually from a viral illness. It seems to be related more to the rapid rise in temperature than the actual temperature itself. Once a high temperature has been reached, often the risk of seizure is over. In most kids, it usually occurs at temperatures above 102 degrees F.
Febrile seizures occur in young children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old. Only about 2-5% of children will have a seizure from a fever; however, 30-50% of those kids will go on to have another one within a year of their first. These seizures are very short-lived, usually only lasting 1-3 minutes in duration.
A child having a seizure loses consciousness, falls down, and shakes all over with jerking motions, moving both arms and legs. Their eyes may roll back, and they may stop breathing for a minute and maybe urinate, vomit, or pass stool. They also may bite their tongue.
While it’s important to protect them from injury and striking their head by guiding them to a soft surface, do not try to hold them down or force something into their mouths. (It is an old wives’ tale that you can swallow your tongue.)
Do pay attention to what your niece or nephew is doing during the seizure to be able to describe it to rescue personnel or health care providers, as well as note how long they are convulsing.
After the seizure, your niece or nephew may seem confused and very sleepy. It is okay to let them sleep. Just check them regularly to make sure they are breathing well with a nice pink color.
If this is your niece’s or nephew’s first febrile seizure, get them to the doctor right away. And if they are convulsing longer than 5-10 minutes or don’t seem to be waking up and acting normal in the next 30-60 minutes or if they have a stiff neck or trouble breathing, then call 9-1-1 and take them to the emergency room.
Published: January 22, 2013