A febrile convulsion is a situation causing fits or seizure with fever in infancy (3 months) or up to 5 years of age provided the underlying cause is not of origin from the nervous system. If the fit is without fever, then it is not considered to be febrile convulsion. It is short lasting and it occurs only once usually within 24 hours. It is a generalized fit or convulsion. If a problem in the nervous system, like meningitis or a tumour, gives rise to a convulsion, then it is not called febrile convulsion. Febrile convulsion is caused by infectious fever, be it bacterial or viral and be it a fever in the respiratory tract, influenza, gastroenteritis, measles, ear infection, mumps, or acute tonsillitis. Children, whose brother or sister has a history of convulsion, are 2-3 times more at risk than others in contracting these convulsions. It is worth noting that febrile convulsions are just temporary and they do not cause any development delay, retardation, behavioral abnormalities, or death in your child. It continues throughout life as epilepsy only very rarely. Most children never get it after the age of 5 years. Occasionally it may recur again when there is fever so it is very important that you should control the fever first whenever it comes. Consult your doctor immediately if your child has a convulsion.
General symptoms of febrile convulsions include high 102℉+ fever, as also fever with rapid low to high-temperature change. The convulsion occurs usually within hours of onset of the fever. It is generalized with first sustained contraction and then leads to a relaxation of the muscles, the whole process lasting for few seconds to minutes, in most cases less than 15 minutes. Occasionally the seizure may be repetitive, and if it lasts beyond 15 minutes then it is known as a complex seizure. Male children are slightly more affected than female ones.
Do's and Don’ts
If your child is having a fit see to it that s/he should not fall or injure himself/herself. Move away from any objects that may injure him/her. Do not try to stop the convulsion by pulling or holding the limbs. Instead, wait for it to cease on its own. If you can put a pad of cloth between the teeth, it will help to prevent tongue bite. You should contact a doctor at the earliest for the treatment of the cause of a fever. As soon as the fever starts to rise, lower the child’s temperature by tepid water sponging – take tap water in a big vessel, dip a soft towel in it and wipe the child from head to toe several times, each time dipping the towel afresh. Ask your doctor for medication to lower the temperature whenever your child gets the fever.