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Febrile seizure

A febrile seizure, also known as a fever fit or febrile convulsion is a generalized convulsion caused by elevated body temperature. They most commonly occur in children below the age of three years old and should not be diagnosed in children under the age of 6 months or over the age of 6 years. In many cases, the first sign of fever is the onset of the seizure. It has been theorized that the seizure is triggered by the rapidity of the rise in temperature, rather than the actual temperature reached. more...

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Febrile seizures represent the meeting point between a low seizure threshold (genetically and age determined) - some children have a greater tendency to have a seizure under certain circumstances - and a trigger: fever. The genetic causes of febrile seizures are still being researched. Some mutations that cause a neuronal hyperexcitability and could be responsible for febrile seizures have already been discovered.

The diagnosis is one that must be arrived at by eliminating more serious causes of seizure: in particular, meningitis and encephalitis must be ruled out. Therefore a doctor's opinon should be sought and in many cases the child would be admitted to hospital overnight for observation and/or tests. As a general rule, if the child returns to a normal state of health soon after the seizure, a nervous system infection it is unlikely. Even in cases where the diagnosis is febrile seizure, doctors will try to identify and treat the source of fever. In particular, it is useful to distinguish the event as a simple febrile seizure - in which the seizure lasts less than 15 minutes, does not recur in the next 24 hours, and involves the entire body. The complex febrile seizure is characterized by long duration, recurrence, or focus on only part of the body. The simple seizure represents the majority of cases and is considered to be less of a cause for concern than the complex. It is reassuring if the cause of seizure can indeed be determined to have been fever, as simple febrile seizures generally do not cause permanent brain injury; do not tend to recur frequently, as children tend to 'out-grow' them; and do not make the development of adult epilepsy significantly more likely.

Children with febrile convulsions who are destined to suffer from afebrile epileptic attacks in the future will usually exhibit the following:

  • A family history of afebrile convulsions in first degree relatives (a parent or sibling)
  • A pre-convulsion history of abnormal neurological signs or developmental delay
  • A febrile convulsion lasting longer than 15 minutes
  • A febrile convulsion with strong indications of focal features before, during or afterward


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Most febrile seizures are benign; parents' reactions aren't. (Reassure Parents). : An article from: Pediatric News $5.95 Prenatal exposure to cigarettes, alcohol, and coffee and the risk for febrile seizures. : An article from: Pediatrics $5.95
Febrile Seizures $15.29 Febrile Seizures From Vaccines Appear Benign.(evaluation of DTaP vaccine) : An article from: Pediatric News $5.95
Fever in Children: A BLESSING IN DISGUISE. : An article from: Palaestra $5.95 Febrile Seizures - A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References $34.95
Benzodiazepine May Prevent Recurrent Febrile Seizures.(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included) : An article from: Family Practice News $5.95 Data reassure parents about febrile seizures. (Most are Benign). : An article from: Family Practice News $5.95
Lumbar puncture often is not required after febrile seizure. (Viral Infections Likely Culprit).(Brief Article) : An article from: Family Practice News $5.95 Accuracy of Tympanic Temperature Readings in Children Under 6 Years of Age. : An article from: Pediatric Nursing $5.95

Approach to young children with febrile seizures - Tips from other journals - Author Abstract
The majority of seizures in children younger than five years are febrile seizures, and children with a positive family history have a higher incidence.
Comparison of intranasal midazolam with intravenous diazepam for treating febrile seizures in children: prospective randomised study
A nose spray containing midazolam appears to be safe and effective when used to treat febrile seizures in children. A febrile seizure is one that occurs ...
Evidence-Based Approach to Febrile Seizures in Children
Febrile seizures are the most common neurologic disorder in childhood, affecting up to 4 percent of children in the United States and Great Britain.
Febrile seizures
High body temperatures can sometimes cause seizures in infants and young children. These are known as febrile seizures. They can be very frightening, ...
Optimal management strategy for recurrent febrile seizure - adapted from the Journal of Pediatrics, June 1995 - Tips from Other Journals
Febrile seizure recurs in about one-fifth to one-third of children who have had one febrile seizure. Although these seizures are generally benign, long-term ...
Predicting febrile seizures - includes definition of febrile seizure
Almost five percent of children three months to five years old have at least one febrile seizure. Even though febrile seizures are not serious from a medical perspective, any seizure can be very fr
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen in children with febrile seizure - adapted from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, June 1995 - Tips from Other
Two to 5 percent of young children have febrile seizures, and 30 percent of children have a recurrent seizure. Although previous studies have proved that ...
Febrile seizures and SIDS - sudden infant death syndrome - Brief Article
The cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) continues to elude researchers. Doctors in Denmark recently examined the possible connection between ...

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