And How to Keep Your Child From Getting Fever Seizures

Colds & Flu

Signs, Symptoms & Causes

A seizure is like a short-circuit in the brain. Information in nerves in the brain gets mixed up. There are many forms of seizures.


A general seizure. This affects the whole brain. A convulsion happens with this kind. These are signs of a convulsion.

•  The neck muscles or all the body muscles get stiff.

•  The arms or legs jerk around.

•  The eyes roll up and back in the head.

•  The child falls down.

•  The child blacks out.

•  The child wets or soils his or her clothes.

An absence seizure. A convulsion does not happen with this kind of seizure. These are signs of this kind of seizure:

•  The child stares into space. It looks like the child is not paying attention.

•  The child smacks his or her lips.

•  The child may blink over-and-over.

Seizures that come with a high fever.

In fact, high fevers cause most seizures in children ages 6 months to 5 years old. This happens when the body’s own temperature control isn’t working just right yet.


Sicknesses that make a child’s temperature go up fast can bring on seizures. Here are some other causes of seizures:

•  Epilepsy.

•  Poisons.

•  Infections that cause a high fever.

•  Drugs.

•  Reye’s Syndrome.

•  Snakebites.

•  Some vaccinations.

Most seizures last from 1 to 5 minutes. Short seizures don’t cause problems unless the child stops breathing and turns blue. But a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes can be a sign of a big problem. Let your child’s doctor know if your child has any kind of seizure.

How to Keep Your Child From Getting Fever Seizures

Keep trying to bring the fever down until it is 101ºF or less. Try to bring your child’s fever down fast:

•  Dress your child in light, loose clothes or take off most of his or her clothes.

•  Ask your doctor about fever-lowering suppositories.

•  Put washcloths rinsed in lukewarm (not cold) water on your child’s forehead and neck. Don’t use rubbing alcohol.

•  Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Make sure you give the right kind and dose for his or her weight. Do this if the fever gets above 103°F. (Note: Do not give aspirin. Aspirin and other medicines that have salicylates have been linked to Reye’s Syndrome.)

Questions to Ask


Don’t panic! A fever seizure will stop by itself in a few minutes. The two things you can do are:

•  Try to keep your child from getting hurt during the seizure.

•  Lower his or her fever.

Follow these tips during the seizure:

•  Protect your child from falling and hitting his or her head. (Watch out for tables and sharp things.)

•  Make sure your child can breathe:

– Roll the child on his or her side so spit can drain from the mouth.

– Gently pull on the jaw and bend the neck back. (This opens up the throat.)

•  Don’t put anything in your child’s mouth. Children hardly ever bite their tongues during a fever seizure.

•  Don’t give your child any medicine, food, or drink by mouth.

Follow these tips after the seizure:

•  If the seizure was from a fever, start lowering the fever. Sponge your child’s body with lukewarm water. Don’t use rubbing alcohol. Don’t put the child in a bathtub. Don’t use an ice pack. It drops the temperature too fast.

•  Your child will probably be sleepy after the seizure. He or she may not remember anything. This is O.K.

•  Dress the child in light, loose clothes. Put him or her to sleep in a cool room.

•  Let your child's doctor know about the seizure.

This website is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.


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