A fever-induced seizure in a child is also known as a febrile seizure. It is the state whereby the fever causes convulsion; the seizures, which occur as a result of disruptions in brain electrical activity, are stimulated by the high increase in body temperature. The majority of the cases are not harmful for the children being affected. Parents are generally greatly frightened when their children are affected by febrile seizures, fearing lest the seizures have serious implications like epilepsy or the risk of sustaining brain damage. But, most of febrile seizure cases do not come with such extreme effects. However, precautions still have to be taken.
Febriles seizures may occur in kids of 9 months to 5 years old, more common in males.
Causes of Fever Induced Seizures
Febrile seizures often occur in families. Most of the seizures occur within 24 hours of the disease: be it fever, or even ear infections, or cold viral illnesses.
Normally, it is fevers which cause the seizures to happen. Seizures occur mostly when the body temperature increases above 38˚C.
Symptoms of Fever Induced Seizures
The symptoms vary from mild to severe. It may last from seconds to 10 minutes.
- The child may moan or cry.
- Muscle tightening; the body will become stiff.
- Child may fall or pass urine
- Vomiting or biting tongue
- Breathing problems till the child turns blue
- Jerking of the body and twitching
- Loss of consciousness
- Foaming at the mouth
How to deal with the seizures?
- Leave the child on the floor.
- Move him only if necessary.
- Loosen tight clothing specially around neck.
- In case of vomiting or breathing problems where his tongue is preventing him form breathing, turn the child on his stomach.
- Do not put anything into the child’s mouth to prevent him from biting his tongue because this causes an enhanced risk of injury.
- Do not try to restrain the seizure movements.
- Bring the fever down. A number of ways exist to do this:
- Use suppositories (avoid medicines through the mouth)
- Apply cool washcloths to forehead and neck.
- Sponge rest of body with lukewarm water.
- Simple febrile seizures are mostly harmless; the child will not die or have his brain damages.
- Very few kids have more than 3 febrile seizures in their life.
Diagnosis of Fever Induced Seizures
Tests are done by doctors in order to determine whether the febrile seizures affecting the child are due to fever or some other cause, because, otherwise, seizures could have been caused by meningitis, or even severe dehydration. The blood and urine of the child are analysed as well.
Treatment of Fever Induced Seizures
For those having prolonged seizures, lorazepam is injected. Other medications exist, such as benzodiazepines, and diazepam.