Seizures and Fever (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
With any medical concern, if you determine immediate medical emergency is not necessary, you may call your doctor for instructions on how to handle a febrile seizure. Your doctor may advise you to come to the office or to proceed directly to a hospital’s emergency department.
Understandably, unprepared parents and other caregivers who have never dealt with a seizure before will likely be compelled to call 911 when their child is having a seizure. In most cases, the seizure will have stopped by the time emergency medical personnel arrive. Even so, it is wise to have the child seen promptly either by the regular physician or in the hospital’s emergency department.
- It is important to consider and exclude other causes of seizures. Although serious infections such as meningitis are infrequent, these should be ruled out with a careful medical evaluation.
- If a child should have another febrile seizure, the parents should understand that it is not necessary to automatically call 911. The home care measures should be followed.
- Even after a brief repeated febrile seizure, it is wise to take the child to the physician’s office or hospital emergency department for an examination.
- Call 911 for emergency medical transport in these cases:
- The seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.
- The child has serious trouble breathing or stops breathing.
- The child develops cyanosis (blueness of the skin) indicating insufficient oxygen in the bloodstream.
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
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