The child stiffens and immediately begins to shake his limbs, his eyes go blank and his face completely changes color. Many parents have witnessed this in their children , and it is an easily identifiable phenomenon: febrile seizures.
Febrile seizures, or fever-induced seizures, are very curious episodes, because while they are totally harmless, it is one of the most terrifying situations that a parent or relative can go through in their life. They occur when the child has a disease that causes fever, and what happens is that his body temperature rises very quickly, usually above 38 degrees, and it is usually the first day of the disease. As reported by the Fundació Hospital de Nens de Barcelona, 2-3% of children between 6 months and 6 years old suffer from it at some time in their life, and it is more likely if their parents also had them as children.
WHAT ARE FEBRILE SEIZURES LIKE?
When this episode occurs, the child is unconscious, and begins to shake and shake his arms and legs. This is accompanied by stiffness in the body, either generalized or focused on a specific area. Generally, the child loses consciousness and is staring to one side and fixed , and does not respond to the voice of the parents. All this can be accompanied by involuntary urination or defecation, blue coloring of the lips or the sucking of the same.
Seizures usually last between a few seconds and 10 minutes , with a duration of more than 15 minutes being abnormal. Afterwards, the child usually falls asleep.
WHAT TO DO IF THE CHILD BEGINS TO HAVE SEIZURES
Once we have identified that what is happening to our child is a fever-induced seizure, we must remain calm, even if it costs us. We will lay the child on his side or face down to prevent him from choking, and wait for him to pass. But we won’t move you. If you have something in your mouth, we will remove it, and we will loosen your clothing if it is tight or is very covered.
Then, once the seizure is over, we will take the child to the emergency doctor for examination. This is especially important if the seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes. The reason is to examine the origin of the fever and to explore the general health of the child.
We must remember that the child is not in danger , and many experts remember that in these cases what would be fatal would be to have a traffic accident caused by haste and the fear that something would happen to the child. If we are unable to drive due to nerves, we will call the ambulance.
WHAT SHOULD WE NOT DO
In these situations, we can only wait for them to end, and even if the cause is fever, we should not do any of the following:
– When the child has seizures, we must not move him or avoid stopping the seizures by holding him. As we said before, we will move you only to lay you down.
– We will not put anything in your mouth to prevent you from swallowing your tongue. We will only be careful that it does not prevent you from breathing, and in that case, take it out.
– We will not bathe them or apply cold water to them. We’ll just loosen your clothes.
– We won’t give you medication.
DO FEBRILE SEIZURES LEAVE SEQUELAE?
Febrile seizures do not have any consequences on the child’s brain. It would have consequences if it fell on an object with which it could be hit, or that when shaking it hit something. For this reason, all surrounding objects must be removed.
IS IT GOING TO BE REPEATED?
Most children who have a seizure do not happen again. However, to 15% it can happen again, especially in those who have had their first episode at a very young age, if they have a family history, or if they usually occur with feverish temperatures that are not very high. From the age of 6, we can ensure that they will not happen again.
Unfortunately, seizures of this type cannot be predicted or prevented, we can only try to control the fever by giving our child an antipyretic when he begins to feel unwell.
DOES MY CHILD HAVE A SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS EPILEPSY OR MENINGITIS?
No, only between 2 and 4% of children with febrile seizures develop epilepsy , and this usually occurs because these children already have brain conditions that lead to this disease.
When the pediatrician examines our son or daughter after a crisis of this type, he rules out the presence of any disease of the nervous system, such as meningitis. However, we should not give it excessive laps, because if there were meningitis, other symptoms would also occur.