Febrile means having a fever. Seizures are convulsions (sudden, jerking motions) caused by an abnormal burst of electrical activity in the brain. Febrile seizures are convulsions that children sometimes get because of a fever. The seizures:
Many children who have a febrile seizure only ever have one.
Although febrile seizures can be scary to watch, they're harmless. However, some serious disorders such as brain infections (meningitis) cause both fever and seizures. In those cases, it's the serious disorder that causes the seizure, not the fever itself. Seizures caused by a serious disorder aren't considered a febrile seizure.
There are two types of febrile seizures—simple and complex. They have different symptoms.
During the seizure, your child won't be aware of you or be able to talk. However, your child will keep breathing.
Because some serious brain infections that cause fevers also cause seizures, a doctor needs to check your child. Take your child to the emergency room if your child has a seizure and your child:
Doctors will ask about your child's symptoms and then examine your child.
Depending on what they find, doctors may order tests to look for other serious disorders. Your child may need:
Most children won't need these additional tests. Most children will only ever have one febrile seizure.
For seizures lasting less than 15 minutes:
For seizures lasting 15 minutes or more:
Most children won't have to take medicine every day to prevent seizures. Doctors only give medicine to prevent seizures to children who've had:
If your child has one or two simple febrile seizures, your child is only slightly more likely than other children to have a seizure disorder (seizures without fever). If your child has complex febrile seizures or has other medical problems, your child has a higher risk of developing a seizure disorder.