healthEarlier this month, everyone in our house was sick.  Thankfully we were able to pull it together and make it through a family wedding out of town, but when our oldest son was feeling warm and slept most of the trip home, we weren’t too surprised or worried.  A weekend of late nights, no naps and early mornings will do that to a kid, coupled with all of the sickness around him it was no surprise he wasn’t feeling well.

After a fitful night of sleep due to his fever, he seemed OK the next morning.  Still warm, but playing and running like usual.  By early evening he started slowing and seemed to be a little worse for wear, so we gave him some Ibuprofen.  The medicine seemed to breathe new life into our little guy, and before long he was running and playing again.  He went to bed like usual, but awoke in the middle of the night again, tossing and turning.  Enough time had passed that we decided to give him some more Ibuprofen in an attempt to make him comfortable enough to sleep.  It seemed to do the trick as he settled back down and began to doze shortly after.

An hour later my husband (my amazing, wonderful husband who decided to camp out in our son’s room to help him settle down and sleep) yelled down to me that our son was shaking.  He carried our sweet boy to our room and laid him on our bed, and together we watched as our firstborn had a seizure.  We called 911 and within minutes I was riding in an ambulance with our little guy to the emergency room.  His seizure only lasted a few minutes (though I can assure you it felt like a few years) and due to his fever of 103.6, it was quickly diagnosed as a Febrile Seizure.

Febrile Seizures are seizures brought on by a sudden spike in body temperature.  Occurring in kids 6 months to 6 years old, and twice as likely to occur in boys than girls, febrile seizures are more common than we realize.  While scary as heck to watch, they’re typically pretty harmless – they don’t lead to epilepsy, they don’t result in long-term health issues, and they don’t cause developmental delays.

If a child DOES have a febrile seizure, there is a chance they’ll have recurring seizures, which means we now have to be extra vigilant with each and every fever our son gets (which is great given is complete hatred of taking medicine).  No more “wait and see” if the fever takes care of itself – we have to strip him down, give him medicine, dunk him in the tub – whatever it takes to break his temperature as quickly as possible.

The following morning our son’s fever had broken I’m happy to say he’s been himself ever since.  I’m sure this won’t be our last fever this year, but I’m really hopeful we won’t have to experience another seizure again.  If we do, I’m grateful at least for all of the information provided to us by the hospital and the paramedics; I feel like while it’s frightening to watch, we’ll be better equipped now to deal with it in the future.

If your child has a seizure, put him or her on their side or stomach somewhere away from harm.  Don’t try and hold them still or put anything in their mouths.  If possible (believe me, this will probably be the farthest thing on your mind) try and glance at the clock and time the seizure.  While they seem to last forever, most only last a few minutes.  If 10 minutes pass and your child is still seizing, call for help.  Most seizures are brought on by simple viruses, but there’s a chance it could be something more serious, so be sure to take your child to their doctor as soon as possible after the seizure to have them checked out.

For more information about febrile seizures, visit the NIH’s website.