Febrile seizures usually occur at the onset of a fever. The child may stare oddly for a few moments and then stiffen, roll his or her eyes, and then start twitching. Breathing will be choppy and he or she will be unresponsive until it passes, usually less than a minute. Febrile seizures rarely occur more than once within a 24 hour period.
The likelihood of your child having febrile seizures depends on age. Children under 1 year have a 50% chance of having more while children over 1 year have only a 30% of them happening again.
Although they can be scary to witness, febrile seizures are harmless. They do not cause brain damage, paralyses, retardation, or other conditions.
Make sure to contact your pediatrician as soon as you notice the first seizure. Your pediatrician will examine your child to find the cause of the fever. It is more important to cure the fever than the seizure. Sometimes a spinal tap may be necessary to make sure there are no serious infections such as meningitis.
There is no preventative treatment for febrile seizures. For prolonged or recurring seizures, however, there may be possible treatments that your pediatrician will discuss with you. Acetaminophen and other fever reducing drugs will lower the fever, but do not prevent seizures.
If you are concerned about recurring seizures make sure to contact your physician.