What is febrile seizure?

Most febrile seizures occur because of a sudden spike in body temperature, and most occur during the first day of a fever. But a febrile seizure may also develop as the fever is declining.

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Febrile seizures

A febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by a fever. These convulsions occur without any brain or spinal cord infection or other nervous system (neurologic) cause.

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Febrile seizure

A febrile seizure is a convulsion in young children caused by a sudden spike in body temperature, often from an infection. Watching your child experience a febrile seizure can be alarming. It may last only a few minutes, but it may seem like an eternity.

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Febrile seizures

During a febrile seizure, place your child in the recovery position. Lay them on their side, on a soft surface, with their face turned to one side. This will stop them swallowing any vomit, it will keep their airway open, and it will help to prevent injury.

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Febrile Seizure in Children

A febrile seizure or convulsion is caused by a higher than normal body temperature (fever). During a seizure, the electrical activity in the brain is not normal. The brain seems to act as if it is having an electrical storm during the seizure. Febrile seizures are the most common kind of seizure and are usually not harmful. Seizures are frightening to see and to have. A seizure usually does not cause brain damage and may not be as serious as it looks. A febrile seizure may last 1 to 10 minutes.

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Seizures and Fever

Febrile seizures, also known as convulsions, body spasms, or shaking, occur mainly in children and are caused by fever. (Febrile is derived from the Latin febris, meaning fever.) As with most types of seizures, the onset is dramatic, with little or no warning. In most instances, the seizure lasts only a few minutes and stops on its own. Febrile seizures may occur because a child's developing brain is sensitive to the effects of fever. These seizures are most likely to occur with high body temperatures (higher than 102°F) but may also occur with milder fevers. The sudden rise in temperature seems to be more important than the degree of temperature. The seizure may occur with the initial onset of fever before a childs caregiver is even aware the child is ill.


A fever is an elevation of body temperature often indicating an infection. Fever is nature's alarm bell. It is actually a natural defense system against harmful invaders and, where possible, should be allowed to run its course. In our mistaken fear and ignorance, we often run for the Tylenol or aspirin to bring down the fever the moment it rises above normal. Of course, high temperature (102 degrees or over) indicates your body needs help in overthrowing the infection in your system. We would do well, however, to listen to the ancient physicians when they tell us they regarded a fever as a healing agent. The fever actually burns up the toxins. Normal body temperature ranges from 98 degrees to 99 degrees F. Consult your doctor immediately if the temperature is over 101 degrees F. If unchecked, fever can cause brain injury and dehydration. A fever is not a disease. It is a symptom of the presence of a disease. Running an elevation of temperature at times may be helpful to the body. This defense mechanism acts to destroy foreign microbes. If the fever does not get too high, you may elect to let it run its course, helping to eliminate toxins.

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Febrile Seizures Fact Sheet: National Institute of Neurological ...

Feb 22, 2011 ... An information sheet compiled by NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Read more on www.ninds.nih.gov

Febrile seizure - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Febrile seizure is a convulsion that is associated with a significant rise in body temperature in children ages of six months to six years. ...

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Pediatrics, Febrile Seizures: eMedicine Emergency Medicine

Feb 5, 2010 ... Overview: Febrile seizures are the most common type of seizures observed in the pediatric age group. Although described by the ancient ...

Read more on emedicine.medscape.com

Febrile Seizures

Febrile seizures are full-body convulsions caused by high fevers that affect young kids. Although they can be frightening, they usually stop on their own ...

Read more on kidshealth.org


Although febrile seizures may cause great fear and concern for parents, most febrile seizures produce no lasting effects. Simple febrile seizures don't cause brain damage, mental retardation or learning disabilities, and they don't mean your child has a more serious underlying disorder, or the seizure disorder, epilepsy.

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Lifestyle and home remedies
If your child has a febrile seizure, stay calm and follow these steps to help your child during the seizure: Place your child on his or her side, somewhere where he or she won't fall.; Stay close to watch and comfort your child.; Remove any hard or sharp objects near your child.; Loosen any tight or restrictive clothing.; Don't restrain your child or interfere with your child's movements.; Don't attempt to put anything in your child's mouth.

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Medical advice
Have a first-time febrile seizure evaluated by your doctor as soon as possible, even if it lasts only a few seconds. If the seizure ends quickly, call your doctor as soon as it's over and ask when and where your child can be examined. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes or is accompanied by vomiting, a stiff neck, problems with breathing or extreme sleepiness, call for an ambulance to take your child to the emergency room.

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Most of the time, a febrile seizure occurs the first day of an illness. Often, a febrile seizure occurs before parents realize that their child is ill.

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Risk factors
Young age is the strongest risk factor. About one in 25 children will experience a febrile seizure. Most febrile seizures occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers. Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or have them after 3 years of age. Some children inherit a family's tendency to have seizures with a fever.

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Febrile seizure symptoms can range from mild rolling of the eyes to more severe shaking or tightening of the muscles.

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Tests and diagnosis
Your doctor will examine your child to determine the possible causes of the fever and seizure. Your doctor may order blood and urine tests to detect an infection.

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Treatments and drugs
It's not necessary to lower your child's fever to stop a febrile seizure. So don't try to give your child fever medications during a seizure. For the same reason, don't place your child in a cooling tub of water. It's much more practical, more comfortable and safer for your child to remain lying on the carpet or a bed.

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