FEBRILE SEIZURE

Febrile Seizures: A Brief Overview

Febrile seizures (FS) are a common and generally benign neurological condition in children that is characterized by the sudden onset of convulsions due to a fever. These seizures may last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes and can be quite distressing for the affected child and their family. Despite this, febrile seizures are generally considered safe and rarely result in any long-term complications. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, management, and prognosis of febrile seizures.

Causes

Febrile seizures are most commonly caused by a rapid rise in body temperature due to an infection. The exact cause of the seizure is unclear, but it is believed to be related to a sudden surge of chemicals in the brain, which can be triggered by a fever. In some cases, the fever may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as an infection, dehydration, or a metabolic disorder.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of a febrile seizure is a sudden, brief convulsion. The seizure can affect the entire body or just one side and may last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Other symptoms can include: loss of consciousness, confusion, agitation, pale skin, rapid breathing, and drooling.

Diagnosis

Febrile seizures are diagnosed based on their symptoms and a physical examination. A doctor may also order blood tests to check for any underlying infections or metabolic disorders. Depending on the age of the child and the severity of the seizure, imaging tests such as an MRI or EEG may also be ordered.

Management

Febrile seizures are usually managed by controlling the fever with medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. In some cases, anti-seizure medications may also be prescribed. It is important to note that fever-reducing medications should not be given to a child who is having a seizure as they can make the seizure worse.

Prognosis

Most febrile seizures are harmless and do not have any long-term effects. However, in rare cases, they can be a sign of an underlying medical condition and further testing may be required. The risk of recurrence is highest in the first year after the initial seizure, though the risk decreases over time.

Conclusion

Febrile seizures are a common and generally benign neurological condition in children that is characterized by the sudden onset of convulsions due to a fever. These seizures can be quite distressing for the affected child and their family, but are usually harmless and rarely cause any long-term complications. Febrile seizures are typically managed by controlling the fever with medications and, in some cases, anti-seizure medications may also be prescribed. The risk of recurrence is highest in the first year after the initial seizure, though the risk decreases over time.

References

Auvin, S., Genton, P., & Hirsch, E. (2003). Febrile seizures. The Lancet, 362(9386), 705–711. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(03)14233-3

Friedman, J. M., & Schonwald, A. (2010). Febrile Seizures. In J. T. Walker (Ed.), Pediatric neurology: Principles and practice (4th ed., pp. 1116–1122). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Kossoff, E. H., & Shinnar, S. (2011). Febrile seizures. Epilepsy & Behavior, 20(3), 335–341. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2011.02.027

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