0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Advice for Patients |

Febrile Seizures in Children FREE

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(9):872. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.157.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Febrile seizures are seizures that are associated with fever and experienced by a baby or child. Approximately 3% to 5% of children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years will have a febrile seizure. Among children who have had a febrile seizure, about 20% to 30% will have another at some point. The most common cause of fevers that lead to febrile seizures is a viral infection, like a cold.

During a febrile seizure, children may look strange for a few moments, then stiffen, twitch, or roll their eyes. They may be unresponsive for a short time, breathing may look unusual, and skin may look a little darker. After the seizure, the child quickly returns to normal activity. Febrile seizures usually last less than 1 minute; in rare cases these seizures can last as long as 15 minutes.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS A FEBRILE SEIZURE

  • Place him or her on the floor or bed away from any hard or sharp objects

  • Turn his or her head to the side so that any saliva or vomit can drain from the mouth

  • Do not put anything in his or her mouth

  • Call your pediatrician

If this is your child's first seizure, he or she should be examined by a physician to confirm that the seizure was a febrile seizure and to determine the cause of the fever.

CONSEQUENCES OF A FEBRILE SEIZURE

Febrile seizures can be very frightening for parents. However, febrile seizures in otherwise healthy children have no long-term consequences. Febrile seizures do not cause brain damage or nervous system problems and are not life-threatening.

CAN FEBRILE SEIZURES BE PREVENTED?

Physicians used to recommend that all children who have had a febrile seizure in the past be treated aggressively with antipyretics during a fever. Antipyretics are medicines that lower fever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It was thought that preventing a high fever would protect the child against having another febrile seizure. A new study in this month's Archives studied several antipyretic medicines in children who had a previous febrile seizure. They studied 2 groups of children, all of whom had a history of a febrile seizure: one group received medicine to lower fevers; the other did not receive any active medicine during fevers. The researchers found that there was no difference in the chance of having another febrile seizure in children who had medicine during a fever and children who did not have any medicine during a fever. In both groups, about 23% of the children had another febrile seizure. This study helps us to understand that children who have a history of febrile seizures should be treated like any other child during a fever. Parents can provide antipyretic medicine to comfort their child, but they should not feel that treating every fever is necessary in children who have had a previous febrile seizure.

INFORM YOURSELF

To find this and other Advice for Patients articles, go to the Advice for Patients link on the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Web site at http://www.archpediatrics.com.

ARTICLE INFORMATION

Box Section Ref ID

The Advice for Patients feature is a public service of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your child's medical condition, Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests that you consult your child's physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 312/464-0776.

Tables

References

Correspondence

CME
Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Submit a Comment

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles