Febrile convulsions

Febrile convulsions are suffered by young children with a fever. They usually occur at the start of an infection and are very common. Febrile convulsions are not dangerous.

Febrile convulsions are convulsions suffered by young children with a fever, i.e. a temperature over 38oC. Febrile convulsions usually occur at the start of an infection, and are very common. They are not harmful, but can be frightening to experience.

The picture shows a thermometer with a child in the background.

What are febrile convulsions?

In some children, a fever can mean increased likelihood of a seizure. Less than 4% of all children experience them. Febrile convulsions can vary. The child is often unresponsive, has a vacant stare and their arms and legs may twitch. Their eyes often roll back, their breathing changes, foam can appear at their mouth and their lips turn blue.

Most febrile convulsions only last a few minutes. In rare cases, they may last longer and the child may need medication. After an attack, the child is usually tired and falls asleep.

Are febrile convulsions dangerous?

No. Children do not die from febrile convulsions. Febrile convulsions do not cause brain damage or learning disabilities. One out of three children suffer febrile convulsions more than once, but usually grow out of them around the ages of 3-4. In rare cases, children with febrile convulsions may develop epilepsy later in life.

What do I do if my child has a fever?

Undress your child to cool them off. However, make sure your child is not cold or exposed to a draft. Avoid using a duvet, use just the cover or a sheet instead. Cotton underwear is alright, change it if your child gets hot and sweaty. Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids, preferably in small but regular amounts. Keep the room cool.

Panodil does not prevent febrile convulsions, but can relieve pain and discomfort.

What do I do if my child has febrile convulsions?

Keep calm. Stay with your child until their convulsions have passed.

  • Lay your child on their side in case of vomiting
  • Keep your child from getting injured or hitting their head on the ground due to the convulsions
  • Dial 112 if the convulsions last more than 3 minutes
  • Always contact your doctor or dial 1813 to determine the cause of the fever
  • Anticonvulsant medicine can be prescribed for long febrile convulsions that last about 5 minutes.

Can I prevent febrile convulsions?

Unfortunately, febrile convulsions cannot be prevented. However, remember that febrile convulsions are not dangerous or harmful to your child.