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Can Febrile Seizures Be Fatal?

What are Febrile Seizures?

Febrile Seizures occur because of an infection which causes the body temperature to spike much above the normal range. It is also known by the name of febrile convulsions. Seizures that occur due to high fever does not suggest in any way that the child has epilepsy. Febrile Seizures generally occur in children who are under six years of age. Within this range this condition is more prevalent between 6 months to five years age range[2].

Studies suggest that approximately 5% of children in this age group tend to have febrile seizures at some point when they get sick. As a rule of thumb, a child with no known history of convulsions or any other neurological disorder has an episode of seizure when having high fever is believed to have febrile seizures[2].

This condition has slowly become a major challenge for pediatricians all around the world due to its recurrent nature and a significant rise in the number of cases. However, parents are now more aware of this condition than they were in the past and are prepared for such an episode[1].

There have also been articles published in public domain as to the approaches toward evaluating and treating febrile seizures. However, there have been question asked about whether Febrile Seizures can cause fatality. This article answers this question and explains as to whether Febrile Seizures are fatal or not[1].

Can Febrile Seizures Be Fatal?

Can Febrile Seizures Be Fatal?

Even though febrile seizures are quite common in children, witnessing an episode especially by a parent can be quite traumatic and emotionally draining. The jerking motions of the extremities and foaming of the mouth sends shivers down the spine of a parent. It is not uncommon for a parent to have a thought that their child may not make it[3].

However, the fact of the matter is that majority of episodes of febrile seizures are completely harmless. It is extremely rare for a febrile seizure to have caused some sort of damage to the brain or other organs of the body. However, in some third world countries there have been reports of some fatalities due to febrile seizures[3].

This may be more due to lack of awareness of the condition in combination with lack of healthcare facilities. In fact, there have been many reviews and literature published some of which are also available online. These articles go in depth about the natural history, treatment strategies, and prognosis of febrile seizures[3].

The articles also address some of the general reactions of parents when witnessing an episode and gradually over time after witnessing several episodes. Studying these articles definitely makes parents aware of what to look for and expect for in a child with febrile seizures[3].

In conclusion, febrile seizure is not fatal. In fact the fatalities reported in several articles due to febrile seizures have been mainly in poor and underdeveloped countries. There are various studies and research work online about febrile seizures which makes parents more aware of the symptoms and the treatment approaches that are adopted to treat febrile seizures[3].

In most cases, children outgrow this problem and by the time they are in their teens they stop having these convulsions. However, during the growing years, it is best to keep a close eye on the child as to pick up an illness early and take the child to a physician before onset of an episode of febrile seizure.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6052913/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852399/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/168010.php
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 28, 2023

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