The No-Panic Guide to Fevers

What If My Child Has a Seizure?

About 4 percent of children under age 5 have fever-induced seizures (febrile seizures), which are often caused by a sudden spike in body temperature. They seem scary -- your child may lose consciousness, shake, or stiffen -- but they're usually harmless. Most febrile seizures end in a minute or two, though some last just a few seconds or for more than 10 minutes.

If your feverish child starts convulsing, place her on a soft surface and roll her onto her side so she won't choke. Never put anything in her mouth or try to hold her down. When the seizure ends, call your pediatrician -- if this is the first time it's happened, she needs to be evaluated right away. "Once your child has been diagnosed with febrile seizures, you can relax a bit if it happens again -- as long as you know why she has a fever," says Dr. Brown.

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