What are Febrile Seizures?

Febrile Seizure is a benign medical condition which develops due to a spike in body temperature of a child because of an infection or inflammation. This infection can be bacterial, viral, or fungal. Febrile Convulsion is another name given to this condition. The occurrence of febrile seizures in no way suggests that the affected child has epilepsy as both are totally different conditions. Febrile Seizures generally occur in children between five months to six years of age[3].

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It has been estimated through numerous studies conducted on this topic that around 5% of children within the age group mentioned above suffer from febrile seizures at some point or the other when they fall sick. Physicians define an episode of convulsion as a febrile seizure of the child does not have a past history of epilepsy or any other associated neurological disorder[3].

However, the cases of febrile seizures have gradually risen over the years posing a test for pediatricians around the world to come up with different strategies to evaluate and treat this condition. This has made even the parents more aware of the condition and how to be prepared for it in case of their child happens to suffer from one [1].

The parents are now more concerned about the treatment options that are available for febrile seizures. This article discusses the various treatment strategies that are beneficial in taking care of febrile seizures [1].

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What are the Treatment Options for Febrile Seizures?

A child with a solitary episode of febrile seizure who is otherwise in perfect health need not be hospitalized. Placing the child under observation in the emergency department and identifying the source of the infection should be the priority. The time period that the child has to spend in the emergency department usually ranges from six to eight hours before he or she can be discharged [2].

Majority of the cases of febrile seizures are self-limiting and children tend to outgrow them. It is very rare that antiepileptics need to be used for treating a child with febrile seizures. The indications that a child with febrile seizures needs antiepileptic medications are that the child should still be having convulsions when presenting to the emergency room [2].

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The seizures should be lasting for more than 5 minutes per episode and he or she should be having recurrent episodes within a span of 24 hours. However there are certain indicators which can be useful in determining whether a child with febrile seizures needs hospital admission [2].

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence has identified certain symptoms which indicate a potentially serious underlying condition that requires hospitalization.

These symptoms include seizures that last for more than 30 minutes. If there is observation of complex febrile seizures where recurrent seizures occur is also an indicator of something serious requiring further investigation [2].

If the child is observed to have certain residual neurological symptoms like Todd paresis then it is also an indicator of a serious infection which needs to be investigated in an inpatient setting. If the source of the infection remains unclear despite various tests then it calls for an admission to the hospital to determine the source of infection and start treatment immediately [2].

Febrile seizures observed in children under one year of age should also be treated in an inpatient setting rather than just observation in the emergency department.

Children who do not have a strong family support system and there is no one to take care of them after an episode should also be admitted to the hospital for treatment[2].

In conclusion, there is no specific treatment strategy for febrile seizure. It is a self-limiting condition which the child outgrows on most cases. However, in some extreme cases where the seizures are prolonged and tend to recur in short spans then use of antiepileptics is needed[1,2].

The use of medication totally depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms. Hospitalization normally is not required for febrile seizures. However, if the child is less than one year of age, has seizures lasting longer than 30 minutes, and has recurring seizures then the child should be admitted for observation and treatment for febrile seizures[2].

References:  

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: May 24, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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