Panic and worry are certainly felt by parents when their child has a febrile seizure. This condition, which is often considered epilepsy, is actually common in infants and toddlers, but is dangerous if not treated immediately. Therefore, it is important for parents to understand how to deal with it.
Febrile seizures or better known as step disease in children occur due to an increase in body temperature or a high fever. High fever is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Usually, febrile seizures in children are experienced when the baby is 6 months old until the child is 5 years old.
Causes of Fever Seizures in Children
Febrile seizures are closely related to conditions that can cause a child to have a high fever, such as viral or bacterial infections and post-immunization conditions, such as the DPT and MMR vaccines.
However, it does not mean that the vaccine is the cause of febrile seizures, but because of the high fever experienced by children after vaccination. The following are risk factors that can cause recurrent febrile seizures:
- History of family members who have a history of febrile seizures
- Previous history of febrile seizures lasting more than 15 minutes or occurring when the body temperature is below 40 degrees
- Occurs for the first time before the child is 18 months old
Characteristics of Fever Seizures in Children
When a child has a febrile seizure, he will show some of the following signs and symptoms:
- High fever with a temperature of more than 38o Celsius
- Both hands and feet jerking
- Eyes roll up
- Unconscious or sleeping after the seizure is over
In addition, based on the duration of the seizure, this condition can be divided into two types, namely:
Simple febrile seizure
Simple febrile seizures occur throughout the body and do not recur within 24 hours. These seizures last only a few seconds to less than 15 minutes
Complex febrile seizures
Complex febrile seizures usually occur in only one part of the body, such as the left hand and leg. In addition, seizures may recur over a 24-hour period and last longer than 15 minutes.
How to Treat Fever Seizures in Children
If your little one has a high fever and has a history of febrile seizures, try giving a fever-reducing medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to lower his body temperature. You can also apply a cold compress to relieve the fever.
In children who have recurrent febrile seizures, you can use anticonvulsant drugs as recommended by the doctor. To treat febrile seizures in children, doctors can prescribe the drug diazepam in tablet or syrup form.
In addition, diazepam tube preparations which are given through the anus are also often prescribed by doctors. This drug can also be given to prevent and treat febrile seizures in children.
The use of anti-seizure drugs in children needs to be adjusted to the child's weight and age. Therefore, regardless of the type of anticonvulsant drug used, you need to consult a doctor first so that the dosage of the drug is safe and in accordance with the condition of your little one.
If your child has a febrile seizure at home, here are things you can do to treat it:
- Do not hold your baby's spasms, but place him on a flat surface, such as on a floor rug or bed.
- Do not put anything in his mouth during or after the seizure.
- Position your baby's body in a sideways position, not supine after he has a seizure. This is important to do to prevent the little one's tongue from blocking the airway.
- Count the duration of the child's febrile seizures and immediately take him to the nearest emergency department (IGD) if the seizures last for more than 5 minutes or occur more than 1 time in 24 hours.
Complications of Febrile Seizures in Children
Febrile seizures rarely cause long-term complications, especially in simple febrile seizures. However, febrile seizures are often associated with the risk of epilepsy in children. In fact, these two diseases are two different conditions.
Unlike febrile seizures, seizures in epilepsy are not caused by fever, but by disturbances of activity in the brain. According to research, the risk of epilepsy can indeed increase by 5-10% in children with febrile seizures with the following conditions:
- Complex febrile seizures
- Neurodevelopmental disorders and brain
- Family history of epilepsy
To determine the cause of febrile seizures in children, the doctor will perform a series of physical examinations and other supporting tests, such as blood tests and urine tests.
In conditions of complex febrile seizures, the doctor will also suggest an electroencephalography (EEG) and brain MRI to determine whether the child has epilepsy.
When your little one has a febrile seizure, try not to panic and give him first aid while monitoring his condition. If your baby's condition is stable and doesn't recur within 24 hours of the first febrile seizure, it's most likely harmless.
However, if your child's febrile seizures recur frequently, occur more than 2 times, or the seizures last longer than 5 minutes, immediately take your child to the doctor so that appropriate treatment can be done.