Febrile Seizure

We do not remember days, we remember moments – Cesare Pavese

Febrile Seizure
Febrile Seizure

image by: Jeff Deyo

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My Toddler’s Fever Led to a Seizure — What You Should Know

Having a sick toddler: Is it harder on them or us? Obviously they’re the ones hurting. I know this. Yet as I watch my little pneumonia-ridden 2-year-old run around, laugh, giggle and cause her general ruckus, I have to wonder, as I rub my eyes and take a big, desperate gulp of black coffee.

We spent hours upon hours at the hospital last night with Abby, who was rocking a fever of 104° F. Normally, we wouldn’t go to the hospital at the onset of a fever. Kids get fevers. They’re normal, and letting them ride out a low-grade fever is supposed to be good for them. 

Not in this house. Not anymore. Specifically for my daughter. This past July, she had a low-grade fever which…

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 My Toddler’s Fever Led to a Seizure — What You Should Know

We didn’t know that 1 in 25 children have febrile seizures. If they’re so common, why didn’t I know about them?

Febrile Seizures Fact Sheet

Young children between the ages of about 6 months and 5 years old are the most likely to experience febrile seizures; this risk peaks during the second year of life. The fever may accompany common childhood illnesses such as a cold, the flu, or an ear infection. In some cases, a child may not have a fever at the time of the seizure but will develop one a few hours later.

Child Neurology Foundation

Febrile seizures are further classified as simple or complex. A febrile seizure is complex if it is focal, prolonged (lasting for more than 10 minutes, or multiple (occurrence of more than one seizure during the febrile illness). Conversely, it is simple if it is an isolated, brief, generalized seizure.

Epilepsy Foundation

The long-term outlook is excellent, however. The vast majority of children with febrile seizures do not have seizures without fever after age 5.


Febrile seizures are convulsions that can happen during a fever (febrile means "feverish"). They affect kids 3 months to 6 years old, and are most common in toddlers 12–18 months old. The seizures usually last for a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever above 100.4°F (38°C). While they can be frightening, febrile seizures usually end without treatment and don't cause other health problems. Having one doesn't mean that a child will have epilepsy or brain damage.


Febrile seizures occur with a fever higher than 38 C or 100.4 F and no other seizure-provoking etiologies.... The highest fever necessary to cause febrile seizures is specific to the individual as each child's threshold convulsive temperature varies.


Febrile seizures usually occur on the first day of illness, and in some cases, the seizure is the first clue that the child is ill. Most seizures occur when the temperature is higher than 102.2ºF (39ºC).

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