Febrile Convulsions in Children – What to Do?

No parent wants to see their children suffer. Unfortunately, many children between six months and six years experience febrile convulsions. What are febrile convulsions and what can parents do if their child has one?

Febrile seizures are convulsions triggered by a fever of at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This seizure is among the most common; it’s also usually harmless. Febrile convulsions normally occur by the age of three, but they can appear in a child as old as six.

What do febrile convulsions or seizures look like? During a seizure you may notice your child:

* Become stiff
* Become unconscious or disoriented
* May have jerking or twitching movements
* May roll their eyes backward
* May have noisy breathing
* Following the convulsions, they may be confused or sleepy

It is important to realize that many children have febrile convulsions. While they may be scary at the time, they normally do not cause brain damage and usually pass within one to ten minutes without treatment.

Most children who have a febrile convulsion never have another one, although there is a small percentage which will. However, febrile seizures normally stop by the time a child turns five or six without future recurrences.

What should a parent do if their child is having a febrile convulsion? There are a few things you’ll want to do whenever a child, or anyone else, has a seizure.

* Place the child on the floor with as much open space around them as possible. This prevents injury from a fall while in the midst of the convulsion. People having seizures should not be restrained or held while the convulsion is going on.

* Ensure the child’s mouth is clear to prevent them from choking. Place them on their side or face down to help drain any liquids. If they vomit, remove it with a suction bulb if possible, but use whatever means necessary. Pull their chin and jaw forward if their breathing becomes noisy.

* Reduce the fever as quickly as possible during a convulsion. Remove the majority of their clothing and put cold washcloths on normal hot spots such as the face and neck. Sponge the rest of your child’s body with cool water if they last longer than a minute or two. When the convulsion is over, give your child a normal dose of fever reducer for their age and size, and have them drink cool liquids.

* If the convulsion lasts longer than ten minutes, immediately call a rescue squad or 911 and inform them of the situation.

* Call your child’s pediatrician as soon as the convulsion is over and then follow their directions.

The best way to prevent this type of convulsion is to stop high fevers in their tracks. If a child’s temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit, give them fever reducing medicine for the first 48 hours of an illness. Don’t be afraid to wake your child in the middle of the night in order to give them fever medicine if they went to bed with a fever.

Keep them lightly covered rather than using more than one blanket. Heavy covers increase your child’s body temperature by one or two extra degrees; if they’re already feverish, this could trigger a convulsion.

Make sure your child is given plenty of liquids. This will keep them hydrated and help bring their body temperature down.

Febrile convulsions are scary, but knowing what they are and how to deal with them will help you be prepared should one occur in your child.

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