Health: Febrile Seizures

C recently had a febrile seizure.  It was actually his second one but the first one was nothing compared to this time around.  This one lasted two to three minutes (which felt like hours), his body was rigid, he foamed at the mouth, his eyes rolled up in his head, and his lips started becoming a bit blue (like when he’s been in the pool too long).

Now, a bit of background on me, I’ve worked with people (both adults and children) with seizure issues since I was a teenager.  I’ve had to time them and observe them to give comments to doctors.  However, regardless of how much I have cared for some of the people I have worked with, when it is your kid, it is such a different ball game.  I kept trying to count to time the seizure but would end up begging C to stop seizing and then try to start counting all over again (yes, I know begging him to stop wasn’t going to work but at the time I was just so worried about his little brain and sick from watching my baby in that state).

I also know from previous experience that people sleep after a seizure.  But having your child absolutely limp in your arms and not being able to check that your little man is still as he was mentally, is agonizing.  We called 911 about a minute into the seizure (when his lips started going blue) and rode an ambulance to the hospital.  Turns out it was all fine but here are some things we learned that I thought I’d share:

-About 4% of kids will have at least one febrile seizure.  There is a genetic component to febrile seizures.  They are more common if a parent had them (in this case, me).  I now have a whole new appreciation for my mom having to go through them.

-Most seizures happen on the first day of the child’s fever.  Also, it’s not so much how high the temperature is necessarily but how quickly it rises.  Febrile seizures happen when the child’s temperature jumps quickly.  It was recommended that next time he has a fever we  get in a lukewarm shower with him (not ice cold as that would be too shocking to the system).

-Most kids outgrow febrile seizures by age 5.  If a child is 3 years old or older and has never previously had a febrile seizure, they have a significantly decreased chance of having one to begin with.  These seizures only increase the risk of adult seizure conditions by .5%.

-Seizures can last up to 15 minutes and still be considered simple seizures (low risk seizures).  I can tell you it would be the longest 15 minutes of your life however “harmless” the docs claim.  If the seizure is 10 minutes or longer though, it is recommended you go to the hospital.

-Do NOT stick anything into their mouths.  They will not swallow/choke on their tongues.  DO put them in prone position if they are struggling to breathe.  For the most part just let the seizure run its course and protect (but don’t restrict) the head from hitting anything (often easiest to put towel/pillow/blanket under head or remove anything hard around head).

We are all good now.  C was stirring up trouble within 24 hours after the seizure.  And as a kid who outgrows things as fast as a weed and is physically advanced for his age,  my fingers are crossed he also grows out of this tendency ahead of the predicted age.

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3 Responses to Health: Febrile Seizures

  1. Cath Hay says:

    Oh my goodness, I balled my eyes out reading that!! I could just feel your fear as I read. I had no idea about febrile seizures at all. If that had happened to one of my kids, I think my eyes would’ve been rolling in the back of my head too and I would’ve been on the floor right along with him.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and all that you learned from it. You sound calm now, but wow, that was a hella three minutes!

  2. I wish I could claim I was calm and cool headed through it but I wasn’t. J was though. Totally give him props for that!

  3. Arwyn says:

    My heart aches for you. I cannot imagine how terrifying that must have been. You are such an incredible woman and mother and your children are the luckiest in he world. I love you!

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