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Febrile Seizures

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

Fever season is here, and nothing frightens parents more than fever, especially a fairly high fever. But one of the cardinal mantras in pediatrics is “fever is your friend” as children, especially toddlers, catch many viral illnesses and one of the most common symptoms is fever. Fever is simply a symptom that the body is fighting an infection. Some studies show that a fever actually helps to improve white cell function.

But febrile seizures, which occur in 2 – 5% of children, are really frightening for parents. Febrile seizures are typically generalized convulsions that occur while a child has a fever. The seizures typically last less than five minutes and after the seizure the child will be sleepy for a bit, and then back to their normal, happy selves. The height of a fever does not correlate with risk of seizures with a fever. Some experts think it may have to do with the rate of rise of the temperature, rather than the height of the fever. Febrile seizures are more common in boys.

So if your child develops a seizure with a fever, try to relax, place your child in a safe area, turn their head to the side and do not restrain them. Call your pediatrician once the seizure has resolved to discuss whether your child needs to be evaluated in the office or the ER. Not all children with a febrile seizure will have a re-occurrence and 95 -98% of children will not go on to develop epilepsy.

That’s your daily dose, we’ll chat again tomorrow.

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One Response to “Febrile Seizures”

  1. Carol says:


    My 9 year old son has had febrile seizures about 5 times since he has been born. It only lasts 1 minute in total and then he is very tried the whole day. I was told that he will grown old of them but when? The doctors now want to do an EEG and a scan to deteremine other cases. Is this normal?

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