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HomeHealth articlesseizureWhat Is Febrile Seizures?

Febrile Seizures - Risk Factors, Clinical Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment.

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A febrile seizure is a fit seen in children six months to three years of age. It is usually associated with a fever. Read to learn more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham

Published At April 21, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 8, 2024


Febrile seizures, also known as febrile convulsions, occur in children between six months and three years and are induced by a fever. It can occur at any age but commonly affects children. These seizures can last from a few seconds to several minutes and are frequently marked by convulsions or uncontrolled muscle contractions. Although the precise etiology of febrile seizures is not entirely understood, it is thought that a high fever that initiates the seizure may affect the brain's electrical activity. This may result in aberrant neuronal activation that brings on the seizure.

Aside from convulsions and loss of consciousness, children with febrile seizures may also have tight muscles, twitching, and other symptoms. Although febrile seizures can worry parents and caregivers, they are mostly harmless and do not result in long-term brain damage. However, if a child has a febrile seizure, immediate medical attention is necessitated because the underlying fever might need to be addressed.

What Is the Incidence of Febrile Seizures?

The incidence in the general population is between two to five percent. However, it is estimated to have an incidence of two to seven percent in children under five. A family history of febrile seizures, developmental delays or neurological problems, and a higher fever at onset are all risk factors for developing febrile seizures.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Febrile Seizures?

  • Children with a family history of febrile seizures are more likely to develop one.

  • Age: Children between six months and three years old are most likely to get febrile seizures.

  • Premature Birth or Low Birth Weight: Children born prematurely or with low birth weight are more likely to experience febrile seizures.

  • Immune System Disorders: Children with illnesses like HIV (human immune virus) infection may be more likely to get febrile seizures.

  • High Fever: Children are more likely to get febrile seizures if they have a fever of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

  • Children with certain diseases: such as meningitis, pneumonia, or ear infections, may be more likely to experience febrile seizures.

  • Genetic Conditions: Children with specific genetic disorders like Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome may be more likely to experience febrile seizures.

  • Environmental Factors: There may be an increased incidence of febrile seizures in children exposed to specific environmental poisons or contaminants.

What Is the Clinical Presentation of Febrile Seizures?

The following are the clinical signs and symptoms of febrile seizures:

  1. Fever: During the seizure, the child will have a fever of at least 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

  2. Convulsions, or seizures, are sudden, uncontrollable muscle contractions that affect the kid. The seizure may be tonic-clonic (characterized by jerks and stiffness of the muscles) or atonic (sudden loss of muscle tone).

  3. Consciousness Loss: The seizure may cause the youngster to lose consciousness.

  4. Typical seizure duration is under 15 minutes for febrile seizures.

  5. The child may experience post-ictal drowsiness, confusion, or fatigue.

  6. No specific neurological symptoms, absence of weakness, or a lack of sensation in one area of the body indicate no neurological impairment or injury.

  7. Absence of any underlying causes, such as an illness, trauma, or metabolic disease.

What Are the Complications of Febrile Seizures?

  • Children who experience febrile seizures are at risk of experiencing another, especially in the first year following the initial seizure.

  • Developmental Delays: Children who experience frequent or protracted febrile seizures may experience cognitive impairment or developmental delays.

  • Status Epilepticus: In a small percentage of cases, a febrile seizure can develop into a prolonged seizure lasting longer than 30 minutes. Brain damage or even death may result from this.

  • Following a febrile seizure, some kids might develop epilepsy characterized by recurrent episodes of fits.

  • Long-Term Behavioral Issues: Children who have experienced febrile seizures may experience issues with anxiety, sadness, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • Neurological Issues: Children who have experienced febrile seizures may experience neurological problems such as headaches, migraines, and balance and coordination issues.

  • Misdiagnosis Risk: Febrile seizures may be mistaken for other forms of seizures, resulting in pointless testing and treatment.

How to Confirm the Diagnosis of Febrile Seizures?

  • Clinical Evaluation: A medical professional's physical examination can assist in confirming the diagnosis of febrile seizures. Medical professionals will look for fever symptoms, including heated skin, flushed cheeks, and sweat.

  • Laboratory Tests: Blood tests can confirm an infection's existence and determine the exact type of illness causing the fever, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and a blood culture.

  • EEG (Electroencephalography): This test, which captures the electrical activity of the brain, can assist in finding any underlying neurological disorders that might be causing the seizures.

  • Imaging tests like a CT (computed tomography) scan or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be performed to rule out any structural abnormalities in the brain that could be the source of the seizures.

  • Medical History: The doctor will inquire about the patient's medical background, including any febrile seizures in the past and any other ailments or disorders that might be connected to the seizures.

  • Video-EEG (Electroencephalogram) Monitoring: This test simultaneously records the patient's brain activity and seizure activity, which can give more specific information about the seizures and assist in pinpointing their root cause.

What Are the Treatment Strategies for Febrile Seizures?

  • Medication: Anticonvulsant drugs like lorazepam and diazepam can prevent reoccurring seizures.

  • Fever-related seizures can be avoided by determining and treating the source of the fever.

  • Monitoring: Children who have experienced a febrile seizure should be continuously watched for signs of another seizure, especially during high fever.

  • Supportive Care: Providing oxygen and fluids as necessary will help avoid problems.

  • The fear and anxiety linked to febrile seizures can be managed by behavioral therapy for children and their families.

  • Surgery: Removing a structural defect causing febrile seizures may be advised in a few instances.

  • Follow-up: It's crucial to provide follow-up treatment to ensure kids heal correctly and to watch for complications or recurrences.


In conclusion, febrile childhood seizures are a common disease that might worry parents and caregivers. They don't affect the infant permanently, though, and are usually benign. If a kid experiences a febrile seizure, seeking medical assistance is crucial since it can help rule out any underlying illnesses.

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Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham
Dr. Veerabhadrudu Kuncham



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