Febrile Convulsion in children

Simply put, a febrile convulsion is when a child has a fever and starts fitting or having seizures.

Picture of a young child of afican origin playing with a set of toys.

This commonly happens between the age of 6 months and 3 years.

1 in 20 children will have a febrile seizure at a point in time.

The first episode can really be frightening for parents to witness, but reassuringly, it does not carry any residual complications.

Any condition that causes a fever could lead to a febrile convulsion. Usually, the febrile convulsion will happen when a high body temperature – above 38 degrees – is reached.

Symptoms of a febrile convulsion can include:
  • Jerking of the legs and arms
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sleeping for about an hour following the incident.

What to do during a febrile convulsion:

  • Make sure the child is in a safe environment. Remove the child from every form of danger.
  • Keep the child on his/her left side so that the child does not choke.
  • Avoid putting anything into the mouth of the child
  • Take note of the duration of the seizure.
  • Once the seizure stops, remove any warm clothing on the child to help cool them down.
  • Do not give a cold bath.
  • If this is the FIRST time, take the child to the nearest emergency department or call an ambulance.
  • If they have had febrile seizures before, allow them fully recover on their side.
  • Only attempt to give paracetamol when they are fully awake and alert – but monitor them carefully.
  • Take them to the clinic for assessment and treatment

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Febrile convulsions