Simple febrile seizures:
- Convulsions last between a few seconds to 15 minutes with recovery taking about an hour
- Seizures are followed by a period of confusion and sleepiness which slowly goes away
Complex febrile seizures:
- Last longer than 15 minutes
- Occur more than once within 24 hours
- Convulsions which affect only part of the body
- A fever, usually above 102°F (38.9°C)
- Convulsion—jerking or stiffening muscles
- Abnormal eye movements
- Coarse breathing sounds during the convulsion
- Loss of consciousness
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Brief period of drowsiness or confusion following a seizure
- Unless the doctor has told you otherwise, call for emergency medical services.
- Protect your child from physical injury. Place your child on the floor or bed away from any hard or sharp objects.
- Protect your child's airway. Do not place anything in the mouth during the convulsion. Turn the child’s head or body to the side. This will allow saliva or vomit to drain from the mouth.
- Watch the time. The length of the convulsions should be less than 5 minutes.
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Lumbar puncture
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- Antiviral medications
- Acetaminophen or ibuprofen to lower the fever
Epilepsy Foundation http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics http://www.healthychildren.org
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Febrile seizure. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113623/Febrile-seizure. Updated March 22, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Febrile seizures: what every parent should know. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/febrile-seizures.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed September 14, 2015.
Mewasingh LD. Febrile seizures. Am Fam Phys. 2008; 78(10):1199-1200
NINDS febrile seizures information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile%5Fseizures/febrile%5Fseizures.htm. Updated July 17, 2015. Accessed September 14, 2015.
Strengell T, Uhari M, et al. Antipyretic agents preventing recurrences of febrile seizures: randomized controlled trial. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Sep;163(9):799-804.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2016 -
- Update Date: 09/25/2014 -