Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Febrile Seizures
Whether you’ve experienced a febrile seizure yourself or have a friend or family member who has, you should be familiar with the causes and symptoms of this condition. Often, it’s simple to understand, but there are also more complex types of this condition, such as an atypical type.
Approximately two-five percent of children who have a febrile seizure will later develop meningitis. If you suspect your child has meningitis, get them to the doctor right away. This is because meningitis can cause serious nervous-system problems, including learning disabilities and hearing loss.
The most common symptoms of meningitis include fever, nausea, vomiting, and increased sleepiness. You may also notice a bulging fontanelle. These symptoms can occur as a result of meningitis or a virus, which can also be spread through coughing or sneezing.
Meningitis can be caused by several different bacteria or viruses. It is most common in children and young adults. It is also more common in people who are prone to alcoholism, have diabetes, or have a chronic disease such as AIDS.
Meningitis can be fatal if left untreated. The symptoms of meningitis can be serious and may lead to paralysis, brain damage, and neurological problems. Those with meningitis may also develop complications, such as limb weakness, scarring, and hearing loss.
Meningitis is usually diagnosed by clinical examination followed by a lumbar puncture (spinal tap). A lumbar puncture is a procedure that involves inserting a needle into the low back. The spinal fluid is then tested for bacteria.
If meningitis is suspected, the child may receive antibiotics. Antibiotics can help prevent the disease or they can help relieve the symptoms of the infection. A corticosteroid may also be given to reduce swelling and inflammation.
Bacterial meningitis can be serious and can lead to permanent brain damage. However, the majority of people with the infection recover completely.
Treatment for bacterial meningitis may include antibiotics, intravenous fluids, and rest. You may also need to give your child extra IV fluids if they have other complications.
Simple febrile seizure
Approximately two to five percent of children will experience at least one simple febrile seizure by age five. Although the causes of simple febrile seizures are not well understood, they are commonly associated with fever. Simple febrile seizures last less than 15 minutes and may include a short period of drowsiness and confusion.
Simple febrile seizures usually do not require further testing. However, the provider may want to order a few tests to rule out more serious conditions. The provider may also prescribe a fever-reducing medicine.
Simple febrile seizures should be treated by lowering the fever. Using acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is a safe and effective way to treat fever. The provider may also want to give antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. The amount of antibiotics given depends on the dosage and route of administration.
Complex febrile seizures are defined as events that occur more than once in a 24-hour period. They may also include twitching or movement of one part of the body. Complex febrile seizures are more likely to cause epilepsy.
The patient should be in a safe place with loose clothing. He or she should not be put in water or be held down. This will help prevent injury. If the seizure lasts longer than five minutes, it is important to call 911.
In some cases, a child may need an MRI or CT scan. The provider may also want to check the child’s blood for electrolytes. The provider may want to give antibiotics to treat a fever.
There are several causes of simple febrile seizures. These include roseola, a virus, and bacterial infections. In addition, environmental factors may contribute to pathogenesis.
Complex (atypical) type of febrile seizure
During the first 24 hours of a fever, one in twenty children will have a febrile convulsion. These seizures can be simple or complex. The latter is riskier.
Complex (atypical) febrile seizures have a duration of more than 15 minutes, and they occur on one side of the body. These seizures are often followed by a period of drowsiness. However, they are more severe than simple febrile seizures.
Complex (atypical) febrile convulsions are usually the first sign of an infection. The virus that most often triggers a convulsion is the flu. It is also associated with high fevers.
These seizures are also often associated with a family history. In fact, one in four patients has a family history of febrile seizures. This may be due to a herpes virus, such as herpes simplex virus type 6.
In general, the risk of developing afebrile seizures increases with the severity of the illness. However, the general pediatric population has a 1.4% risk. When complex features are present, the risk increases to 49%.
Children should be evaluated at the hospital if they have a seizure. Parents should also keep track of how long the seizure lasts. If it lasts longer than five minutes, call the ambulance.
If the child is old enough, he or she can take ibuprofen, which is safe. In addition, the provider may prescribe a fever-reducing medicine. If a fever-reducing medicine is prescribed, the provider should tell the parents how to take the medicine.
When a child has a seizure, the first thing that the parent should do is to place the child in a recovery position. The recovery position keeps the airway open and prevents injury. The child should be dressed in loose clothing and laid on a soft surface.
Anticonvulsants do not reduce the risk of epilepsy in children with a history of febrile seizures
Despite the benefits of anticonvulsants, they do not reduce the risk of epilepsy in children with a history of febrile seizures. This is the case even though the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued clinical practice guidelines for febrile seizures.
Febrile seizures are convulsions caused by fever in infants. Most occur in the first 24 hours of illness. They usually last less than 15 minutes. Simple febrile seizures do not cause cognitive deficits, learning problems, or brain damage. Complex febrile seizures are associated with an increased risk of afebrile seizures.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder. It is caused by an imbalance in the electrical rhythms of the brain. People who have epilepsy experience synchronized bursts of electrical energy that can cause a sudden change in behavior. A child can have epilepsy at any age, and it may be caused by a brain injury, head injury, or infection.
Febrile seizures are the most common type of epilepsy. The risk of developing epilepsy increases with a family history of febrile seizures. It also increases with a child’s age. Children with a family history of epilepsy are two to three times more likely to develop epilepsy than children without a family history of epilepsy.
Epilepsy is usually diagnosed after two seizures. After five years, 70 percent of people who are diagnosed with epilepsy can enter remission. However, 20 percent of patients have intractable seizures. Intractable seizures are not cured by medication. In order to control epilepsy, patients must be patient, and positive, and take medications as prescribed.
Anticonvulsants have many risks, including side effects. Some of these side effects include the prevention of seizures and treatment of seizures. However, they can also include the prevention of neurologic problems. In addition, they may be harmful if taken over long periods of time.
Laboratory studies are not indicated for a febrile seizure
Various studies have been conducted to determine the indications for laboratory studies in the diagnosis of febrile seizures. The results indicate that, in general, routine laboratory studies are not recommended for simple febrile seizures. The reason for this is that the clinical outcome does not depend on these tests. Moreover, the tests are not useful for predicting recurrence.
Usually, simple febrile seizures are benign and do not require further evaluation. However, some patients with a complex history of fever and seizures may require testing. If the seizure is accompanied by meningeal signs, a lumbar puncture should be performed. MRI is another option. This is most often done on an outpatient basis.
Routine laboratory tests include a complete blood count, urine analysis, and cerebrospinal fluid analysis. However, the indications for these tests vary according to the physician’s idea.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against routine lab testing in the diagnosis of simple febrile seizures. It also recommends against performing lab tests on any child who has had a simple febrile seizure. It has recently reestablished its subcommittee on febrile seizures.
The subcommittee consisted of a practicing pediatrician, a neuroepidemiologist, and 3 child neurologists. It also reviewed the conflict of interest form used by the AAP. The authors also consulted with the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.
A recent study found no association between a routine EEG performed in the emergency department (ED) and a recurrence of simple febrile seizures. However, a child with an abnormal EEG should be examined by an MRI. The goal is to identify the cause of the fever and ensure that the child is safe.
MRI is the preferred modality for neuroimaging. In children under one year, it is also the appropriate modality for the neurological exam. However, children who have had previous infections or deficient immunizations may require a lumbar puncture.
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