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What are the Presenting Symptoms of Febrile Seizures?

About Febrile Seizures

Febrile Seizure is a neurological disorder seen in infants and children who are under 6 years of age. This condition is characterized by the child having seizures when they suffer from high fever or the body temperature is exceedingly high. Since the seizure episode occurs only when the body temperature of the child is high therefore it cannot be termed as epilepsy [2].

Febrile Seizures are seen most in children between six months to five years of age and studies estimate that about 5% of children in this age range suffer from this condition. Febrile Seizures can look very disturbing and can cause panic among the parents of the affected child. However, these seizures very rarely cause any damage to the internal structures of the brain or any other organ of the body [2].

A sudden rise in temperature normally due to an infection or inflammation is the primary cause for febrile seizures. This condition has become a major challenge for pediatricians across the globe due to a significant rise in the number of cases of febrile seizures and the rate at which it tends to recur [1].

However, as of late there has been an increased awareness with regard to management of this condition and knowledge of potential complications that may arise due to recurrent febrile seizures. The updated guidelines as to the management of febrile seizures have already been published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and are available for review [1].

These guidelines give detailed and updated information on the right approach towards management and evaluation of Febrile Seizures. Therefore it is highly important to know the signs and symptoms of febrile seizures so that proper treatment is given to the affected child. This article showcases some of the basic presenting features of a febrile seizure [1].

What are the Presenting Symptoms of Febrile Seizures?

What are the Presenting Symptoms of Febrile Seizures?

The first thing that every parent should note is that febrile seizure generally strikes at the beginning of an infection as the body temperature spikes. It may happen at times when the parents are not even aware that their child has fever [2].

At the onset of a febrile seizure, the body of the child will become stiff. There will be jerking and violent shaking of the upper and lower extremities. The child will then start having problems with breathing. Ultimately, the child loses consciousness[2].

In some cases, the child also loses control of bowels and bladder. Foaming at the mouth is also something that is common with febrile seizures along with their eyes rolling upwards. The child during febrile seizures will often cry incessantly[2].

All the symptoms that have been mentioned above typically last for a minute or two and post the episode the child becomes lethargic or will tend to sleep for long hours. In some cases, the episodes may last for more than 15 minutes[2].

It is also not uncommon to see a child having multiple episodes of febrile seizures all through the time he has the illness. In some cases, the jerking and twitching of the extremities may be limited to only one side of the body. This in medical term is known as a focal seizure[2].

In conclusion, even though febrile seizures are caused by a spike in temperature of the body the severity of the symptoms has no connection with the severity of the fever or the infection that the child may have. Once the indwelling infection is treated the seizure episodes tend to stop[1, 2].

However, the recurrence rate of febrile seizure is quite high in that the child may have the symptoms again when he or she falls sick. Thus it is recommended to take the child to the physician immediately if they show any sign of fever, especially if they have a known history of febrile seizures. This is to ensure that proper treatment is given to the child during a febrile seizure[2].


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 16, 2024

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