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Fever Seizures

Fever seizures (febrile seizures) are uncontrolled muscle spasms and unresponsiveness in a child that are caused by a rapid increase in body temperature. They usually last 1 to 3 minutes and are seldom serious.

Fevers that lead to a fever seizure may develop so quickly that parents did not even realize that their child's temperature was rising. After a fever has reached a high temperature, the risk of a seizure is probably over.

Fever seizures are not a form of epilepsy. A seizure is likely to be fever-related if:

  • There is one seizure in a 24-hour period.
  • The seizure lasted less than 15 minutes.
  • The seizure affected the entire body, not just one side of the body.
  • The child is age 6 months to 5 years old.
  • The child does not have nervous system (neurological) problems.
  • The child has had fever seizures before.

Last Revised: September 13, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

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