Seizures and Fever (Febrile Seizures)
Kevin Kowaleski, MD
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
Seizures and Fever Overview
Febrile seizures, also known as convulsions, body spasms, or shaking, occur mainly in children and are caused by fever. (Febrile is derived from the Latin febris, meaning fever.) As with most types of seizures, the onset is dramatic, with little or no warning. In most instances, the seizure lasts only a few minutes and stops on its own.
Febrile seizures may occur because a child's developing brain is sensitive to the effects of fever. These seizures are most likely to occur with high body temperatures (higher than 102°F) but may also occur with milder fevers. The sudden rise in temperature seems to be more important than the degree of temperature. The seizure may occur with the initial onset of fever before a child’s caregiver is even aware the child is ill.
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