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What To Do When Your Child Has a Febrile Seizure

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If you have a child between the ages of 6 months and 5 or 6 years, it’s important to know that a febrile seizure may occur when they spike a fever of 100.4 or more. Febrile seizures are most common in 2 year olds and those who have experienced them before or have a family history of febrile seizures. This information isn’t meant to scare you, but rather, to equip you and reduce worry in the case you encounter a febrile seizure with one of your children.

Although called a seizure, febrile seizures are not a life long problem and they do not require medication. They are directly related to fevers in small children. Febrile seizures have symptoms like convulsions, unresponsive staring, shaking, unconsciousness, stiff limbs, twitching, or rolling eyes. They usually last a few minutes.

If your child has a febrile seizure your goal is to monitor their breathing and keep them safe. Lay them on their side to prevent choking or aspiration. If they stop breathing, the seizure lasts long, or if they do not recover quickly, call 9-1-1.  If not, expect that they’ll return to normal and treat their fever or accompanying illness accordingly. This may still warrant a visit to the emergency room or doctor. Use your best judgement and the guidance of a care provider.

This short video interview with a children’s hospital doctor gives some great tips and further explains febrile seizures:

More information about febrile seizures is available from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

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