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Fever Seizure in Children: Care Instructions

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Your child had a fever seizure. Another name for fever seizure is febrile seizure. Most children who have a fever seizure have rectal temperatures higher than 38.9°C (102°F).

Watching your child have a seizure can be scary. The good news is that a fever seizure is usually not a sign of a serious problem.

See your child's doctor in 1 or 2 days for follow-up care.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to help bring down the fever. Do not use ibuprofen if your child is less than 6 months old unless the doctor gave you instructions to use it. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Be careful when giving your child over-the-counter cold or influenza (flu) medicines and Tylenol at the same time. Many of these medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Read the labels to make sure that you are not giving your child more than the recommended dose. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If your child has another seizure during the same illness:
    • Protect the child from injury. Ease the child to the floor, or lay a very small child face down on your lap.
    • Turn the child onto their side, which will help clear the mouth of any vomit or saliva. This will help keep the tongue from blocking airflow into your child. Keeping your child's head and chin forward also will help keep the airway open.
    • Loosen your child's clothing.
    • Do not put anything in the child's mouth to stop tongue-biting. This could injure you or your child.
    • Try to stay calm. It will help calm the child. Comfort your child with quiet, soothing talk.
    • Try to time the length of the seizure. Note your child's behaviour during the seizure so you can tell your child's doctor about it.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child's seizure lasts more than 3 minutes.
  • Your child is very sick or has trouble staying awake or being woken up.
  • Your child has another seizure during the same illness.
  • Your child has new symptoms, such as weakness or numbness in any part of the body.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child is less than 12 months old with a fever seizure.
  • Your child's fever does not come down with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).
  • Your child is not acting normally.
  • Your child is very sick or has trouble staying awake or being woken up.
  • Your child has more than one seizure in 24 hours.
  • Your child has a seizure without a fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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