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How can convulsions be prevented?

Q: My two and a half years old son got a febrile convulsion attack last week, which has happened to him for the second time. Earlier it happened a year back. How can convulsions be prevented? What line of treatment is good - homeopathy or allopathy? Which medical tests need to be done?

A:A febrile seizure is defined as an event in infancy or early childhood, usually occurring between three months and five years of age, associated with fever but without evidence of intracranial infection or defined cause. Febrile seizures (febrile convulsions) are the most common convulsive events in human experience.

To help a child, parents and caregivers should take note of the following:

  1. Most febrile seizures do not last more than a couple of minutes, and if it goes on any longer than this the child needs to be taken to the emergency department without delay.
  2. It is important to try and keep the child on his side in order to prevent any chance of choking on vomit.
  3. If the child is making jerking movements or otherwise convulsing parents should focus on keeping him safe; there should be no attempts to restrain the child.
  4. Keep track of the time during the seizure and if it lasts for more than a couple of minutes call the emergency services.
  5. Make sure that the area around the child is safe by removing anything that he could bang off.
  6. It is important that the clothes on infants are loosened so as to avoid them being too restricted.
  7. Never try plunging a child having a febrile seizure into an ice cold bath. In fact parents should not try and cool the child down while he is having the seizure.
  8. Never put anything in a child’s mouth when he is having a seizure and try and remove anything that was in there prior to the seizure.

Febrile seizures in children are terrifying to watch but in most instances they will not leave any permanent damage. It is important that the child be seen by a doctor if he's had a seizure, and that he is rushed to hospital if it lasts more than 4-5 minutes.

Between 95 and 98 percent of children who have experienced febrile seizures do not go on to develop epilepsy. Oral diazepam or clobazam given at onset of fever can reduce the risk of subsequent febrile seizures. Because it is intermittent, this therapy probably has the fewest adverse effects. If preventing subsequent febrile seizures is essential, this would be the treatment of choice.

Although it does not prevent simple febrile seizures, antipyretic therapy is desirable for other reasons like making the child more comfortable.

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