George Wolcott, M.D.
Seizures are caused by abnormal brain functions leading to muscle spasms or loss of consciousness and are more common in children than adults. If seizures become recurrent, your child may have Epilepsy – a neurological disorder causing an individual to be more prone to seizures. There are over 30 different types of seizures and Boys Town Pediatrics is here to help you differentiate between common types.
Absence seizures are brief episodes of staring where your child's awareness and responsiveness are impaired. There is no warning before the seizure and typically only lasts a few seconds. The child is alert immediately afterwards and doesn't even realize anything happened. Sometimes it looks like the child is daydreaming with eye blinking, staring, eye drooping and hand gestures. This type is so brief it is often not detected.
Seizures without fever typically last 30–90 seconds and may be able to be controlled with anti-seizure medicines. There are many causes and approximately 40% are from unknown causes.
Try to time. If the seizure lasts more than 10 minutes, call an ambulance. After the seizure is over, your child may be tired. Try having your child sleep or lay down to recover. Be sure to discuss the seizure with your healthcare provider to determine if anticonvulsant medicine should be taken to help your child with future seizures. Children taking certain anticonvulsant medicines may have their blood tested periodically.
Seizures can also be caused by a fever from an infection in the body. Sometimes seizures can be caused by hot baths or hot weather. For most children, a seizure from a fever will only happen once. However, some may have seizures over the next few years, usually stopping by age 5 or 6 years.
Follow the same steps as seizures without fever and follow the additional steps to control the fever. Bringing your child's fever down as quickly as possible may shorten the seizure.
If your child is prone to seizures, avoid excessive amounts with activities that would be unsafe, such as climbing a tree or rope, cycling, swimming alone and unsupervised play. Showers are also recommended over baths.
Learn more about seizures and epilepsy on the
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.