What are febrile seizures?
They are seizures or convulsions that occur in about 2-5% of young children between 6 months and five years old that are triggered by a high fever. The risk peaks during the second year of life.
It may accompany a cold, ear infection or flu. In some cases a child may not have a fever at the time of the seizure, but will develop one a few hours later.
The child will lose consciousness and both arms and legs will shake uncontrollably. Most only last a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever above 101 degrees F or 38.3 degrees C.
What should you do?
- Stay calm.
- Note the start time, a description of the seizure and how long it lasted.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number if this is the childs’ first seizure or it is lasting more than 5 minutes.
- Protect the child. Move anything that can cause harm away from her.
- Do not try to stop the seizure or put anything in the mouth.
- After the seizure has ended turn the child on his side if you do not suspect a neck or spinal injury.
Although febrile seizures are very frightening for a parent or caretaker they do not cause any long term damage.
It does not mean that the child has epilepsy. Approximately 40% of children who have one febrile seizure will have an occurrence.
Be prepared to do CPR if the child is unresponsive and not breathing.