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Febrile Seizures

Cartoon of a woman with a thermometer in her mouth, her hand on her head.

What are febrile seizures?

A febrile seizure is a type of seizure that occurs in children with fevers. Febrile seizures are uncommon, affecting only 3 to 4 out of every 100 kids, and are most common in children aged 12 to 18 months.

Fever-causing illnesses like COVID, flu, common cold, ear infections, RSV, heat stroke, and roseola are all conditions that can cause febrile seizures.

As a general rule,

  • newborns (under one month) should be taken to the ER for a temp over 100.7° F

  • older kids should be taken for a temp over 103.5° F (check first to see if they are responsive to fever reducers like Tylenol or Motrin)

Child with thermometer in their mouth, their hand on their headChildren or infants having seizures typically look strange, breathe strangely, twitch, stiffen, and roll their eyes. They may not respond to you for a short while, and their color may change. Despite how scary they can be to observe, seizures are usually harmless. Most seizures are brief and do not cause brain damage.

Seizures are usually brief and last 1 to 2 minutes. If a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, it is a medical emergency.

What To Do During Febrile Seizures

  • Place your child on a bed or floor, away from hard objects.
  • Don’t put anything in their mouth. Swallowing your tongue during a seizure is a myth.
  • Turn their dead to the side so saliva or vomit can escape their mouth.
  • Call your pediatric healthcare provider.

Seizure Risk

Febrile seizures often run in families. If your child has a seizure before they turn one year old, they have a 50% chance of having another.

COVID and Febrile Seizures

COVID can cause fever and thus febrile seizures. Please keep your child safe from infection and follow CDC guidelines as we see spikes in cases. Infants under six months of age cannot be vaccinated. Boost their immunity and avoid large gatherings.

Please read up on GHT’s COVID-19 policy, and for questions or comments, please respond to the page or contact us!

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