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Febrile Seizure: Symptoms and Causes

Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Hippocrates described febrile convulsions, which occur in children with acute fever, as early as 400 B.C. He noted that they were characteristic of very young children, usually no older than seven years old and that older children, as well as adults, were not prone to such seizures.

But children’s febrile seizures can be frightening to parents, although they are rarely severe and often have no long-term consequences. But if you are a parent and are worried about your child, or if you think you have febrile seizures, don’t worry!

In this blog article, we’ll tell you more about what febrile seizure is, discuss the symptoms and causes, and discuss what parents can do to help their child during seizures. We hope this information lets you learn more about this common childhood illness.

 

What is a Febrile Seizure?

Frequent convulsions or seizures in children with a fever are known as febrile seizures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The term febrile convulsions are also used to describe these episodes.

It is the most prevalent seizure in babies and typically affects infants between six months and five years. They are short, only a few minutes long.

What is a febrile seizure

However, febrile seizures can strike older kids and adults in fewer instances.

Most seizures last under five minutes, and most children cease having them by the time they are four or five years old. Despite not being a severe medical condition, febrile seizures can be terrifying for parents and other caregivers.

Additionally, it is essential to remember that even though febrile seizures are not dangerous, they can be a symptom of a severe underlying infection. To rule out any other potential reasons, taking your child to the doctor is essential if they experience a seizure.

 

Febrile Seizure Symptoms

The main symptom of a febrile seizure is a seizure, an uncontrolled shaking of the body. It can occur when the child suddenly has a fever. Usually, a child’s body temperature rises quite quickly in these cases, and it can reach 105°F (40.5°C) or higher at the time of the seizure.

Most seizures last less than five minutes and do not cause lasting harm to the child. However, in rare cases, children’s febrile seizures may last longer and thus may require additional medical attention.

Febrile seizures symptoms

In addition to the seizures themselves, other symptoms, such as:

  • Loss of consciousness. The child may lose consciousness and fall, so there is a high risk of injury.
  • Uncontrolled body shaking. The child’s entire body may shake uncontrollably and beat convulsively.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control. During a seizure, the child may wet himself or empty his bowels.
  • Biting of the tongue or lips. During a seizure, the child may bite the tongue or lip, which can cause bleeding.
  • After the seizure, the child may be confused and sleepy. He may also have a headache or vomit. These symptoms usually go away within an hour or two.
  • Paralysis. In sporadic cases, febrile seizures can cause paralysis. It is usually temporary and goes away within a few hours.

It is important to note that febrile seizures in children and adults may vary, and not all seizures include all the symptoms listed. If your child has a seizure that lasts more than five minutes, or if they have more than one seizure, you should seek medical attention immediately, as it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. 

 

What Causes Febrile Seizures

It isn’t easy to find a solution when searching for an answer to the question of what causes febrile seizures. Unfortunately, the exact cause is not known. But there is a common belief that most febrile seizures are caused by a sudden spike in body temperature, which may be caused by an infection or disease, such as meningitis, pneumonia, or ear infections.

Infections are not the only potential cause of febrile seizures. Other possible causes include the following:

 

Dehydration Seizures are thought to be caused by dehydration, which can cause a dramatic drop in blood pressure and body temperature.
Vaccination It is possible that seizures in babies can be caused by certain immunizations, such as the MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccine.
Exposure to extreme cold or heat Seizures may be caused by exposure to extreme cold or heat, which can also cause a sudden drop in body temperature.
Metabolic abnormalities In rare cases, seizures may be caused by metabolic disorders such as diabetes or hypoglycemia.
Traumatic brain injury Seizures may be caused by head trauma.

Complications of Febrile Seizures

In most cases, febrile convulsions are not a cause for concern and will not have any long-term effects on the child’s health. However, in rare cases, seizures can lead to complications such as:

  • Status epilepticus: This is a medical emergency where the seizure lasts more than five minutes or the child has multiple seizures in a row. It can be dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Brain damage: This is very rare, but in some cases, a febrile seizure can cause brain damage. It is more likely to happen if the child has a prolonged seizure or multiple seizures.
  • Sudden death: This is also very rare, but in some cases, a febrile seizure can lead to premature death. It is more likely to happen in children with febrile seizures lasting more than 15 minutes.

 

Febrile Seizures in Children

Children get febrile seizures more frequently than adults, and most disappear when they start school. There is a slight chance that seizures can come again later in life or when the person is an adult.

Most young patients with febrile seizures only experience one seizure. Children, however, occasionally experience many seizures. If a child has a neurological condition like epilepsy or a family history of seizures, seizures are more likely to reoccur.

 

Bottom Line

If your child has a febrile seizure, it is crucial to stay calm and let them rest. You should also call the doctor if the seizure lasts more than five minutes or if your child has more than one seizure.

Seizures can be frightening, but it is essential to remember that it is nothing to worry about, and most children recover quickly. With the proper care, your child will soon return to everyday life. And a qualified doctor will help you do just that.

At Lone Star Neurology, you will find a doctor to help you with your treatment. We have a wide range of services and offer the latest treatment options. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

 

FAQs 

  • What does a febrile seizure look like?

A febrile seizure may look like any other, with convulsions and loss of consciousness. The child may also have stiff muscles and may bite their tongue.

  • Are febrile seizures an emergency?

No, febrile seizures are not an emergency. However, if the seizure lasts more than five minutes or the child has multiple seizures, it is considered a medical emergency.

  • What is the prognosis of febrile seizures?

The prognosis of febrile seizures is excellent. Most children who have a febrile seizure will not have any long-term effects. In rare cases, seizures can lead to complications such as status epilepticus, brain damage, or sudden death.

  • What are the major risk factors for febrile seizure?

The major risk factor for febrile seizures is a family history of seizures. Other risk factors include immunizations, extreme cold or heat exposure, metabolic disorders, and head trauma.

  • Do febrile seizures cause damage?

In most cases, febrile seizures are not a cause for concern and will not have any long-term effects on the child’s health. However, rare seizures can lead to complications such as brain damage.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been prepared.read more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well together.read more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your business.read more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any cookies.read more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going there.read more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my treatment.read more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to finish.read more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 stars.read more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his staff.read more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best treatment.read more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my doctor.read more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding solutions.read more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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