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A seizure triggered by rapid rise in temperature and characterized by altered consciousness and uncontrolled muscle spasms.

Sex or Age most Affected

Infants and children upto 3 years .

Signs & Symptons

An infection with fever usually precedes the convulsions, but sometimes convulsions may be the first sign of fever. Symptoms include:

  • Unconsciousness.
  • Jerking or twitching of the arms, legs or face that lasts 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Irritability upon regaining consciousness, followed by sleep for several hours.


Our body temperature is controlled by thermostatic action of Hypothalamus. This function of the Hypothalamus is not fully functional till the age of 3 yr. Sudden rise of temperature – trips the thermostat plus an unexplained irritability of the central nervous system in some children- gives a convulsion.

Risk Increases With

Repeated infections.


When fever begins in a child who has had a febrile convulsion in the past, immediately begin measures to reduce the fever. (General Measures.)

Diagnostic Measures

  • Observation of symptoms.
  • History and physical exam by a doctor.
  • Laboratory studies of blood and spinal fluid (in some cases).
  • EEG (if recurrent).

Possible Complications

  • Body injury during a seizure.
  • Brain injury with repeated seizures.

Probable Outcomes

Despite its frightening appearance, a convulsion caused solely by fever in a child is usually not serious. However, other causes should be ruled out by appropriate investigations.

If the first convulsion with fever occurs in a child younger than 6 months, a neurological examination and other studies may be necessary.


General Measures

  • During the convulsion, move potentially dangerous objects away from the child.

Write down details of the convulsion, and report them to your doctor. An eye witness account is most useful. Information should include the following:

  • When did it begin?
  • How soon did the seizure occur after the fever rose?
  • Were the limb movements equal on both sides or was one side twitching more than the other?
  • How long did the seizure last?
  • Did the child sleep afterward? If so, how long?
  • Did the seizure recur after a quiet interval?
  • The answers will help your doctor decide whether the seizure was a febrile convulsion or an epileptic seizure triggered by fever.
  • After the convulsion, try to reduce fever by giving antipyretic syrups, tepid (tap water) sponging.



Your doctor may prescribe an anticonvulsant drugs, to prevent a recurrence of seizures. Some doctors recommend medication after the first convulsion; many doctors treat only if a seizure recurs. (only 10% may get a repeat seizure) Anticonvulsant drugs are only effective if taken daily during the susceptible years.


Keep the child resting quietly in bed until fever and the underlying illness are gone. Then allow activity to return gradually to normal.


After the seizure ends, encourage the child to drink extra liquids, including water, tea, cola and fruit juice.

Contact your Doctor

  • Your child has a seizure with fever. Call your doctor IMMEDIATELY . This is an emergency!
  • An injury occurs during a seizure.
  • The underlying illness does not improve in 3 days.