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Febrile Seizures

What Is A Febrile Convulsion?

A febrile convulsion is a convulsion caused by high temperature or fever.

What Is A Convulsion?

A convulsion is an attack in which the child becomes unconscious and usually stiff, with jerking of the arms and legs. It is caused by a storm of electrical activity of the brain. The words convulsion, fit and seizure mean the same thing.

Febrile seizures are common in children under 5 years.

Febrile convulsions may be caused by viral infections such as a cold or stomach upset.

Not all fevers cause febrile seizures.

The seizure is caused by the SUDDEN rise in temperature, not how HIGH the temperature is.

About one child in 30 will have a febrile convulsion by the age of 5 yrs.


25%-50% of children who have had one febrile seizure will have one again within the next year if they become ill and have a sudden rise in temperature again. Your doctor may prescribe medications.

Febrile seizures often run in families.

Care at Home

When A Child Has A Seizure:

Children become unaware of their surroundings, jerk or twitch, may appear to have difficulty breathing and become unconscious.

After A Seizure The Child:

Children will be sleepy for a while then return to normal. Febrile seizures are very frightening to watch, but the person having the seizure is not in pain and will have little memory of what has happened.

They do not result in brain damage, epilepsy or death.

Key points to remember about Febrile Seizures
  • A febrile convulsion is a very frightening experience for you, however they are not as serious as they look.
  • Stay calm and reassure your child.
  • Control the fever.
Care Of Your Child During A Seizure:

  • Try and stay calm.
  • Stay with the child.
  • Note the time.
  • Lie your child on their side with their head at the same level or slightly lower than their body.
  • Protect them from injury. Loosen tight clothing and remove glasses.
  • Don't move the child. Move things away from them. Do not slap or shake them.
  • Don't attempt to restrain the convulsive movements or put anything in their mouth.
  • Wait for the convulsion to stop, noting the time again.
  • Febrile Seizures usually last a few minutes and sometimes up to 15 minutes.
After The Seizure:

Go to the Emergency Department as soon as possible after the seizure has stopped. Your child should be examined to see whether there is a reason for the fever.

Please call the Pediatric Emergency on 1830003/22232000 Ext. 1043 for any questions or concerns.