“Febrile seizures are convulsive episodes that occur when a child has a fever, affecting children between 6 months and 5 years of age, with a higher incidence in male babies between 12 and 18 months. These events can be very frequent, last a few minutes, are not usually a symptom of a serious illness, and usually go away on their own. Most children stop having febrile seizures by 5 years of age. These seizures are not considered a form of epilepsy. Some children, depending on several factors, have a slightly higher risk of developing epilepsy”, says Dr. Pamela Muñoz, a pediatric neurologist at our clinic.
What are the risk factors for febrile seizures to occur and recur?
- Family history of febrile seizures or epilepsy, even more so if it is in the father or mother
- Children with recurrent febrile episodes
- Children with a history of prematurity or a history of prolonged hospitalization in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
- Focalized seizures
- Have more than 2 febrile seizures in 24 hours
- Start seizures when the baby is less than 1 year old
- Male gender
What are its symptoms?
Loss of consciousness associated with a generalized movement (generally tonic posture) or localized (for example, in one side of the body) in the context of fever.
You must take your child to the Emergency Room if the following symptoms of alarm appear:
- Seizures lasting more than 5 minutes
- If the child remains unconscious and does not react within the first 3 minutes
- Localized seizures (only in one half of the body)
- Poor general condition and frequent vomiting
- If the child has more than 2 seizure episodes within 24 hours
Recommendations for parents in case their child has a febrile seizure:
- Keep calm during the event
- Undress the child, remove tight clothing, especially around the neck
- To reduce fever, apply bath in warm water
- Do not give any medication by mouth during the crisis
- If the child is unconscious, place him on his side (lateral decubitus), to avoid inhaling saliva or vomit, cleaning excess secretions externally.
- Do not open his mouth or place objects in it
- Do not perform resuscitation maneuvers, nor mechanically overcome seizures
- Track time and maintain attention to the type of crisis and associated events.
- When the crisis subsides, take the child for a medical evaluation.
Dr. Pamela Muñoz
pediatric neurologist at Clínica Ricardo Palma