A seizure is a sudden abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It’s simply uncontrolled firing of neurons in the brain. Seizures can sometimes cause convulsions – rapid and uncontrollable body shaking. More often than not, seizures last from 30 min to 2 minutes. Those lasting above 5 minutes denote a medical emergency.
There are two broad classes of seizures depending on which part of the brain has been involved. Localized seizures affect only one part of the body. On the other hand, generalized seizures affect the entire body. Seizures in children can be extremely worrisome to their parents or caretakers. Ask the Melbourne-IVF Consultants to know how to handle seizures in your children.
What causes seizures in children?
Health practitioners often have a hard time finding out what causes seizures in children. In neonates particularly, it may present without convulsions and the only noticeable sign will be a change in the direction of the eyes. Sometimes children present with febrile seizures. These are seizures that occur in response to a fever due to an infection. The following are some common etiologies of pediatric seizures.
- Infections such as meningitis and cerebral malaria
- Head injury
- Developmental problems such as cerebral palsy
- Toxins such as organophosphates and heavy metals
How do childhood seizures present?
The following are signs and symptoms of pediatric seizures:
- Uncontrolled jerky body movements
- Difficulties in breathing
- Rolling of eyeballs
- Temporary confusion and amnesia
- Loss of consciousness
- Repetitive body movements such as lip smacking and chewing
How are seizures in children diagnosed?
A detailed history and physical exam is the mainstay. The history should involve:
- A description of the seizure and the surrounding events
- The child’s medical history
- History of recent illness, medication or chemicals
- Birth history
- Family history of seizures
The physician will then run some tests to rule out suspected causes like common infections.
Management of childhood seizures
Symptomatic management involves administering drugs like paracetamol or ibuprofen to control fevers and pain if any. Moreover, anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine and phenytoin can be given to control convulsions. Definitive management involves treating the underlying cause if it is identified.
Seizures in your child shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you suspect this, take your child to a pediatrician as soon as possible for optimal management.