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Dealing With Febrile Convulsions In Babies

4 min read

Baby with fever
If you are reading this then you are either quite scared witnessing convulsions in your baby or you have heard about it and want to know what it is all about. Then let us declare at the beginning itself, it is nothing unusual what your baby is going through. It is a common problem in infants and toddlers. Caused due to fever, Febrile Convulsion looks scary but this is the time when you will have to maintain your calm and call up for medical help immediately.

What Are Febrile Convulsions?

If you have a child between the age of 6 months and 5 years, a fever may cause a febrile seizure that lasts for a few seconds, or a really long 15 minutes or so. When the baby has a febrile seizure, your child may vomit, his limbs may appear stiff, rolling his eyes, and his body may twitch. Once the seizure is over, your child may appear drowsy, or may just seem normal. Sometimes, a child may lose consciousness as well. In any case, febrile convulsions are generally harmless, but can be a traumatising experience for you as well as your child.

What Causes Febrile Convulsions?

These convulsions are usually caused by a fever or a severe viral infection. Most of the times it happens due to the sudden rise in your baby’s body temperature due to high fever, to the tune of 102 degrees. The researched percentage shows that one out of 30 babies experience these convulsions while others simply do away with minor discomfort in their bodies when having fever.
Though the primary cause of febrile convulsions is high fever, it is not about how high the temperature is but about the fact that it rises suddenly. It is also important to note down here that these convulsions do not affect the brain of your baby. Cases in which convulsions have even lasted more than an hour have shown no signs of brain damage.

How Vulnerable is Your Baby to Febrile Convulsions?

Well, as said before the statistics say, one out of every 30 babies have the chances of getting these convulsions. It mostly happens in babies and kids of 6 months to 5 years. If there is a history of febrile convulsions in babies in your family, then chances are there that your baby will experience it too.
Check your baby's fever

What Happens During The Convulsions?

Chances are that your baby will lose consciousness for a while, you will see their muscles jerking or their body stiffening and in some severe cases the baby’s face may even turn blue. We know, these are horrifying signs to look out for but the good news is, it will pass.
The convulsions may last for several minutes and after it passes your baby will mostly sleep for hours to relax its body after all of the heavy muscle jerks and stiffening.

What Can You Do While Your Baby Goes Through the Convulsions?

The truth is, neither you cannot much to prevent these convulsions nor can you do much to stop them. You should never try to bring down the fever by sponging the child or by giving any medicine, unless prescribed by a doctor. Still, here are a few important things you can follow:

  1. Remain calm: It is you who have to take your baby to medical help and help him through it so you have to try your best not to panic and deal with the situation strongly.
    • Put your baby on a soft surface
    • Lay him on his side/back
  2. Stay away from myths: It is a common myth that while such convulsions occur, you should put a finger in your baby’s mouth to keep their jaw from stiffening. Don’t do it. Don’t put anything in his mouth
  3. Another myth is that, since it is happening due to fever, you should put your baby’s head under the tap water for the temperature to run down. Never do that without a doctor’s advice
  4. Duration: Observe the duration of convulsions, keeping a track of how long the convulsions last. Any convulsion that lasts longer than 3 minutes would need medical attention
  5. Loosen the Baby’s Clothes: If your baby is wearing tight clothes, loosen them up

If the convulsions last lesser than 3 minutes, you can wipe the drool and the vomit, and seek medical advice, regardless of how short the convulsion was. The convulsions usually stop after a minute or so, if it continues for more than 3 minutes call up the emergency helpline.
Febrile convulsions

Can These Febrile Convulsions Happen Again?

Yes, it is like likely that it might happen again. Not necessarily in the same illness though. So, usually you have time for taking advice from your doctor. By the time you baby turns 5 years, the convulsions will have subsided and will not happen anymore.
If you baby is having second convulsion in the same illness then you should definitely consult a doctor and find the cause of the fever which is causing it in the first place. Chances are that the fever is due to a serious illness.
Also, of you find your baby having a second convulsion before the first one ends, you should seek medical help immediately.

How Can Febrile Convulsions Be Treated?

Convulsions lasting 1-2 minutes do not require any treatment. If they last for 10 minutes or more there is a specific medicine called ‘Midalzolam’ to calm down your baby and release his muscle tension. The child may also be given acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring down the medicine. Never, ever give your child aspirin, as ut can cause a serious condition called the Reyes syndrome. However, never administer any medicine without first consulting your child’s pediatrician.
Febrile convulsions can really scare you but they are nothing to worry about. Just keep yourself calm, observe your baby while it happens and seek medical help if they last for much time.
Seek medical advice

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