Seizures and Fever (cont.)
Seizures and Fever Causes
Febrile seizures are classified into 2 types:
- Simple febrile seizures are more common and are characterized by generalized seizures that last less than 5 minutes.
- Complex febrile seizures are those that are either prolonged (longer than 15 minutes), focal (meaning they involve only a part of the body, such as the face), or recurring within a 24-hour period.
Children who have experienced a complex febrile seizure may be at risk for these outcomes:
- A somewhat higher risk of having a serious infection
- More likely to have preexisting neurologic abnormalities
- A higher risk for developing epilepsy later
Most fevers associated with febrile seizures are due to the usual causes of fever in young children—namely, common viral and mild bacterial infections such as ear infections. Although perhaps only 1% of children with febrile seizures have a serious infection of the central nervous system such as meningitis, this possibility should always be carefully considered in a child who has had a febrile seizure.
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
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