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Febrile seizure
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Febrile seizure

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CHILDREN'S HEALTH

Infants

In young children, a rapidly rising body temperature can cause a seizure or a convulsion. This is called a fever seizure or febrile seizure. It typically affects children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and lasts just a few minutes. But it can seem like an eternity to frightened parents.

Prevention

Most of the time, a febrile seizure occurs the first day of an illness. Often, a febrile seizure occurs before parents realize that their child is ill.

However, if your child is susceptible to febrile seizures, it may be possible to prevent these seizures by taking quick action to control fever when your child has an illness. By giving your child acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) at the first indication of fever, you may reduce the chance of a febrile seizure. You can also control fever by making sure your child drinks plenty of fluids and not bundling him or her up too tightly at night. Just don't give aspirin to children. Aspirin may trigger a rare but potentially fatal disorder known as Reye's syndrome.

It's also possible to prevent febrile seizures with prescription medications. Anticonvulsant medications such as phenobarbital, valproic acid (Depakene) and divalproex sodium (Depakote) are effective in preventing febrile seizures when taken daily. Oral or rectal diazepam (Valium, Diastat) also can reduce the risk of febrile seizures if taken at the time of a fever. But these medications all have drawbacks. They carry a definite risk of serious side effects in young children. Doctors rarely prescribe these prevention medications because most febrile seizures are harmless and most children outgrow them without any problems.

Febrile seizure > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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Last Modified : 03/15/08 12:37 AM