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(sometimes called fever convulsions or febrile seizures) can
occur in children who have a rapid increase in body temperature. You may not
even know that your child has a fever. The rapid increase in body temperature in a
short period of time may happen at the same time as the fever seizure. After a fever has reached a
high temperature, the risk of a seizure is probably over. Most children who
have a fever seizure have temperatures above
seizure is likely to be fever-related if:
Fever seizures can
be frightening but they are not usually harmful to the child and do not cause
long-term problems, such as brain damage,
intellectual disabilities, or learning
Fever seizures affect 2% to 5% of children.
Children can have another seizure. The chance of another fever seizure varies
with age, but about 30% to 50% will have another within a year of the first
one. These seizures are not a form of
A child who is having a seizure
consciousness and shakes, moving his or her arms and
legs on both sides of the body. The child's eyes may roll back. The child may
stop breathing for a few seconds and might also vomit, urinate, or pass stools.
It is important to
protect the child from injury during a seizure.
Fever seizures usually last 1 to 3 minutes. After the seizure, the child
may be sleepy. You can let the child sleep, but check him or her frequently for
changes in color or breathing, or for twitching arms or legs. The child also may
seem confused after the seizure, but normal behavior and activity level should
return within 60 minutes of the seizure.
your child's symptoms to decide if and when your child should see a
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Protect your child from injury
during a seizure:
Check your child for injuries after the seizure:
If your child has had a fever seizure in the past and you have
talked with your child's doctor about how to care for your child after a
seizure, be sure to follow the doctor's instructions.
For home treatment of a
fever, see the topic
Fever, Age 11 and Younger.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The best way to prevent fevers is to reduce
your child's exposure to infectious diseases.
Hand-washing is the single most important prevention
measure for people of all ages.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You may feel upset
after seeing a
fever seizure. Stay calm. You can help your child's
doctor diagnose and treat your child's condition by being prepared
to answer the following questions:
Ask your child's doctor what you can do to prevent
another seizure and what to do if another seizure occurs.
Other Works Consulted
American Academy of Pediatrics (2008).
Clinical Practice Guideline for the Long-term Management of the Child With Simple Febrile Seizures. Elk Grove Village, IL: American
Academy of Pediatrics.
September 13, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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