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Febrile Seizures in Children and How to Overcome Them

Febrile seizures in children are one of the conditions most feared by parents. This situation is often associated with epilepsy and the risk of mental retardation as an effect. Is that right?

Febrile seizures are thought to occur due to a drastic increase in body temperature. Generally caused by infection and is a response from the brain to the fever which usually occurs on the first day of fever. In general, febrile seizures in children experienced by babies aged 6 months to children aged 5 years.

Are Febrile Seizures Dangerous?

Complex febrile seizures are often associated with an increased risk of epilepsy, also related to sudden unexplained death in children (SUDC). But, this is not proven. Most febrile seizures in children have no relationship with an increased risk of death in childhood or adulthood.

Baby crying




Most cases of febrile seizures do not have long-term effects. Simple febrile seizures will not cause brain damage, learning difficulties, or mental disorders. Besides, febrile seizures are also not an indication of epilepsy in children, which is the tendency of recurrent seizures due to abnormal electrical signals in the brain.

Recognize the Characteristics of Febrile Seizures in Children

Symptoms of febrile seizures in children can vary, ranging from mild, such as staring with a bulging, to severe, such as jerking body movements with great, or muscles become tight and stiff.

In general, during febrile seizures, children experience the following conditions:

  • Loss of consciousness and sweating.
  • Spastic hands and legs.
  • High fever, more than 380C.
  • Sometimes foam comes out of his mouth or vomits.
  • His eyes will also sometimes flip.
  • After it subsides, it looks sleepy and falls asleep.

Based on the duration, febrile seizures can be categorized as follows:

  • Simple febrile seizures

Most common, with lasting seizures a few seconds to less than 15 minutes. Seizures that occur in all parts of the body will not be repeated in 24 hours.

  • Complex febrile seizures

It occurs more than 15 minutes on one part of the body and can be repeated within 24 hours.

Causes of Febrile Seizures

The real cause of febrile seizures is unknown. But in the majority of cases, febrile seizures are closely related to high fever due to flu virus infections, ear infections, chickenpox, or tonsillitis.

Also, febrile seizures in children are relatively common after immunization, such as DPT / Td (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus / its repeat vaccine), and MMR (Mumps-Measles-Rubella). However, it is not the vaccine that causes febrile seizures, but because of the fever experienced by children.

Genetic factors also increase the likelihood of febrile seizures. One in three children who experience complex febrile seizures has family members who have also experienced febrile seizures.

After one occurrence, febrile seizures can recur, especially if:

  • There are close family members who have a history of febrile seizures.
  • Febrile seizures occur first before the child is 1 year old.
  • Children experience seizures when their body temperature when the fever is not so high.
  • The period between children starting a fever with a seizure time is relatively short.

The good news, almost all children can recover to normal after experiencing a febrile seizure.

Can febrile seizures occur repeatedly?

In some cases, febrile seizures in children can recur. The possibility of recurring seizures, especially in the first year, and risk factors that influence it are as follows:

  • Family history of febrile seizures
  • Age less than 12 months
  • Low temperatures during seizures
  • The speed of seizures after a fever
  • If the above factors are found, then the possibility of recurrent febrile seizures is around 80%, whereas if no risk factors are found, the likelihood of recurring is 10-15%.

How to handle it?

It is important to remain calm when handling febrile seizures in children. In general, seizures occur at the beginning of a child's fever. Giving him a fever-lowering medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, is only beneficial to make the child more comfortable with a body temperature that is not too high, but does not prevent the onset of febrile seizures themselves.

Avoid giving aspirin because it can lead to the risk of Reye's syndrome in some children and can lead to death. The drugs diazepam, lorazepam, and clonazepam can be prescribed by a doctor if the child has complex febrile seizures or recurrent seizures.

If a febrile seizure occurs in your child a second time when you are not in the hospital or see a doctor:

  • Don't resist your child's seizure movements. But place it on a safe surface like on a carpet on the floor.
  • To avoid choking, remove it immediately if there is something in his mouth when he has a seizure. Don't put any form of medication in his mouth when the child is having a seizure.
  • To prevent him from swallowing his vomit, place him sideways, not on his back, with one arm under the head that is also tilted to one side.
  • Calculate the duration of a febrile seizure. Call an ambulance or immediately take it to the emergency department if the seizure occurs more than 10 minutes.
  • Stay close to calm him down.
  • Move sharp or dangerous objects from the surroundings.
  • Loosen the clothes.

To diagnose the cause of a febrile seizure, the doctor will perform several examinations, including a urine test, a blood test, or a spinal fluid examination (lumbar puncture) to find out if there is a central nervous system infection, such as meningitis.

The doctor may suggest an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain activity if the child has a complex febrile seizure. Also, if seizures only occur on one side of the body, then the doctor will probably recommend an MRI examination. If the seizure is accompanied by a serious infection, let alone the source of the infection has not been detected, then the Little may need to be hospitalized in the hospital for further observation.

Febrile seizures in children should be seen by a doctor immediately. Especially febrile seizures more than 10 minutes, accompanied by symptoms of shortness of breath, neck stiffness, vomiting, and the child looks very sleepy.





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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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