Febrile seizures are a brain response to high fever. The child suffers from abnormal and repetitive muscle movements and may lose consciousness.

When young children have a high fever, they may have febrile seizures . They usually start with abnormal and repetitive muscle movements and eventually lose consciousness. This scares parents a lot, but the good news is that they do not usually cause sequelae. Check out more interesting articles on our site.

Febrile seizures are a brain response to high fever that generally affect children between 6 months and 5 years (more often between 12 and 18 months). They usually last a few minutes and usually appear during the first two days of fever.


If you look at the statistics, febrile seizures are quite common, affecting between 3% and 5% of children. Of these, a third part will suffer a similar episode again and 15%, more than one.

Those with a family history and those who had their first seizure before their first birthday are more likely to have more than one seizure.

It is also known that febrile seizures are more common in boys than in girls and that half of patients have family members who have had these seizures. Moreover, several mutations in different genes related to a greater predisposition to suffer these febrile seizures have already been identified.


Although these seizures occur at temperatures above 38ºC, the exact causes are unknown. Any viral infection of the upper respiratory tract or bacterial infections of the respiratory, digestive and genitourinary tracts can cause them. These can range from angina or gastroenteritis , to give a few examples.

Sudden rashes and certain vaccines (whooping cough and measles , especially) can also cause these crises.


Sometimes seizures are the first sign that a child has a fever. These episodes are accompanied by a series of symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Rigid or completely flaccid body.
  • Rhythmic jerking of the arms, head, trunk, and legs.
  • Total absence of movements.
  • Mouth bruised and closed with great force.
  • Blank eyes.
  • Lost look.
  • vomiting.
  • Loss of control of the sphincters.


Typically, these seizures last less than 5 minutes and resolve on their own. However, it is important that parents remain calm so that they can follow the protocol indicated for these cases:

1. Lay the child on his side so he can breathe better.

2. Move away any object that could be hit.

3. Do not pick up, shake or hit the child or try to stop the movements.

4. Do not put your fingers in his mouth.

5. Do not try to give him a bath to lower his fever.

6. Do not try to give him fever-reducing medication at this time.

7. As soon as the seizures are over, take the child to the nearest hospital so that a doctor can see him and assess his situation.

If you see that your child has a febrile seizure again, it is important that you go back to the emergency room. In the same way, you should go to the hospital immediately when the seizure lasts more than 15 minutes, if the child has difficulty breathing, if his face changes color, if you notice that he only moves one side of the body, if you see that he is sleepy, if is more irritable than usual, vomits, or complains of a severe headache.


Although these episodes often terrify parents, the good part is that they do not usually leave sequels. They do not leave brain damage, or problems in the musculoskeletal system, nor do they cause epilepsy in 95% of cases. In fact, many children do not even need any treatment.

There is also no treatment that prevents them from occurring, at least none that is not controversial.

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