A febrile seizure, also known as a fever fit or febrile convulsion, is a seizure associated with a high body temperature but without any serious underlying health issue. They most commonly occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Most seizures are less than five minutes in duration and the child is completely back to normal within sixty minutes of the event.
Symptoms: During generalized febrile seizures, the body will become stiff and the arms and legs will begin twitching. The child loses consciousness, although their eyes remain open. Breathing can be irregular. They may also vomit or have increased secretions (foam at the mouth). The seizure normally lasts for less than five minutes. The child's temperature is usually greater than 38 C (100.4 F).
Diagnosis: The diagnosis is arrived at by eliminating more serious causes of seizure and fever: in particular, meningitis and encephalitis. However, in locales in which children are immunized for pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae, the prevalence of bacterial meningitis is low. Blood test, imaging of the brain and an electroencephalogram are generally not needed.
Treament: A simple febrile seizure is characterized by shorter duration (lasting less than 15 minutes), no focal features (meaning the shaking is general rather than restricted to a part of the body such as an arm or leg), and if they do occur in series, the total duration is less than 30 minutes (classically a generalized tonic-clonic seizure). A generalized febrile seizure, also known as a complex febrile seizure, is one in which the seizure lasts longer than 15 minutes or multiple episodes occur within 24 hours and generally does have focal features. A febrile status epilepticus is a febrile seizure that lasts for longer than 30 minutes. It can occur in up to 5% of febrile seizure cases.
Epidemology : The prevalence per 1,000 children on October 24, 1981 was 6.14 (6.4 if standardized to the Italian population). The average annual incidence for the period 1964 through 1980 was 95.1 per 100,000 (98.9 if standardized). These results, similar to those found in other Western countries, support the view that the frequency of childhood epilepsy in Italy as a whole is higher than that indicated by previously published Italian studies and furthermore suggest that epilepsy is evenly distributed in Europe and the United States. Antecedents which could be considered potential causes of seizures were found in 40.2% and 43.6% of the incidence and prevalence cases, respectively; for both groups, perinatal brain injuries.