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What are Febrile Convulsions?

What are the symptoms? What are the treatments?


Febrile convulsions or seizures are quite common in young children, affecting about 1 in 20, and usually occur as a result of a high temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or above which can be caused by an infection. Most convulsions occur between the ages of six months and three years.

They can be quite alarming or even frightening to witness, but are a sort of reflex action by the body and usually quite harmless. Febrile convulsions may be either simple or complex, with simple convulsions accounting for about 90% of all cases. These don't last longer than a few minutes and don't recur within 24 hours. The complex type is longer lasting, can recur within 24 hours, and it takes longer than an hour for your child to recover fully.

Some parents worry that their child is having an epileptic fit when they witness a febrile convulsion, but although there is a very small increased risk of developing epilepsy, it's only 1 in 50 for those who suffer simple seizures and 1 in 20 for those who have complex seizures.

What are the symptoms of Febrile convulsion?

Most children have what is known as a tonic clonic seizure – the simple type - where the whole body stiffens, they lose consciousness and their limbs twitch. Some children wet themselves during a convulsion. During a complex seizure, the stiffness is concentrated on only one part of the body.

If your child has no previous history of convulsions, or has a convulsion lasting longer than 5 minutes and shows no signs of stopping, or if he has breathing difficulties, call your doctor straight away or dial 911 if you're worried.

What are the treatments and remedies of Febrile convulsion?

Usually no treatment is required after a convulsion, apart from bringing the temperature under control. You can do this by removing your child's outer clothing and cooling him with a fan. If the fever persists, give him the appropriate dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen. Some children feel tired after a convulsion and may go to sleep afterwards.

This guide

This article is not meant to substitute medical advice provided by a practicing medical professional - if you have any concerns, contact your physician immediately.

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