The first time I saw Phoebe go into a febrile seizure caused by a high temperature, I thought she was going to die. For any of you who have seen your child have one of these seizures, you know the terror connected with them. It’s intense to see your baby go through complete loss of bodily function control, shaking and to stop breathing, turn blue and go unconscious. It was a really long 2 minutes for me.
She’s had 8 more seizures since that initial episode the most recent of which was yesterday afternoon. Every time she has them I learn more and more about what causes them and how they can be treated or possibly prevented. I wanted to share a little bit of what I have learned just in case you have a child who has had or may possibly have them in the future. I believe education is always good when dealing with emotionally charged medical incidents to help guide you through them. I of course am not a medical expert, so all this information is solely based on my personal experience.
- Fevers are a natural and beneficial process of the body to fight infection. Fevers themselves are not dangerous and require no actual treatment. They are a sign that the body is fighting infection and doing it’s job. The underlying cause of the fever is what needs inspection and handling.
- In about 10% of babies and children, when they get a fever they are susceptible to what are called febrile seizures. This is sometimes a hereditary condition.
- Febrile seizures work kind of like the reboot button on a computer. A small body is not capable of processing the high heat levels of the fever and have a seizure to help regulate body temperature.
- Febrile seizures are not normally considered dangerous or life threatening provided they don’t last for an extended period of time (over 5 minutes) or are not clustered together.
- Febrile seizures do not mean your baby will be epileptic or have brain damage.
- I advise if you are experiencing a febrile seizure with your baby or child for the first time you call 911 and go to the emergency room.
- Using fever reducing medicines is not a guaranteed prevention of febrile seizures, however, on the day I tried to not use them, Phoebe had 4 and they would not stop until I administered fever reducing medicine.
- Fevers and seizures may be an indication your child is calcium deficient. I had success last night reducing Phoebe’s fever naturally through calcium supplements. Here is a very useful article on the subject.
- I have a plan in place with Phoebe’s doctor and neurologist that when she has a febrile seizure it can go up to 5 minutes before I call 911 or take her to emergency. If the seizure continues and is not stopping, as a last resort there is a drug to use to stop the seizure. It is possible Phoebe will have seizures connected with her fevers up to the age of 5 or 6. I work to prevent illness in the first place through nutrition and helping her stay emotionally unstressed.
Here are some tips that have helped me deal with Phoebe’s seizures:
1. When she is seizing I hold her on her side and ensure nothing is in her mouth and if she is wearing clothes I strip them off her body and remain silent. I keep her away from anything she could hit her head on while seizing. Here is a great short article on what to do during a seizure.
2. I have learned how to remain calm during the seizures and not say anything to her or anyone else while she is seizing. I believe that by not introducing further stimuli or distractions it has helped her gain control of her body again and as well gain consciousness. During her first seizure I was completely freaking out which didn’t help her or her sisters who witnessed it.
3. I keep track of how long they are going and am ready to call 911 if it starts to progress longer than 2-3 minutes. I factor in how long it would take an ambulance to arrive and how long the ride to the hospital would be if the seizure started to extend to dangerous lengths. 3 minutes is about the time I would call 911 so they’d be arrived by the time it started to progress past 5 minutes.
4. I have found I need to treat her fevers with a fever reducing medicine, but we did have some success last night with using a calcium supplement and I am hopeful I will be able to go that route with the treatment and prevention of her fevers.
5. Hospital visits for seizures are often just waiting, testing and monitoring periods to try to find the source of the infection or what is causing the fever.
6. For the most part I know my child will be ok, but I am not flippant or casual about it. Febrile seizures can escalate to dangerous medical situations, so be aware, seek medical help or advice and be prepared.
7. Phoebe usually gets sick after she has a fall of some kind. When she falls and after she has calmed down, I allow her to tell me about it and get her to point out where it happened. We also use chiropractic treatment to help adjust the spine and keep the nerve flow in the body free and open.
I am always happy when she is back to her old self again.
Does your child have a history of febrile seizures? Do you have any stories or helpful advice to share?