Sunday, May 20, 2007

Febrile Seizures: Explained!

Febrile seizures are convulsions brought on by a fever in infants or small children. During a febrile seizure, a child often loses consciousness and shakes, moving limbs on both sides of the body.


Most febrile seizures develop within 24 hours of fever. They occur in about 2 to 5 percent of children less than 6 years old. Most occur at 6 to 18 months. Simple febrile seizures last less than 15 minutes and have no focal features. Complex febrile seizures last longer, have focal features or occur in a series. They occur during bacterial or viral infections. Sometimes they occur after vaccinations.


Seizures are diagnosed as febrile after exclusion of other causes.


Treatment is supportive for simple seizures. Complex seizures require drugs with careful monitoring of circulatory and respiratory status. Intubation may be necessary if the seizure persists. Drug therapy is usually given intravenously. Maintenance drugs are only given in prolonged episodes.


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