Wednesday, the 10th of October 2018, is a day in my life I will never forget. It was the most terrifying experience of my life ever. I will not want any parent to go through this ever, which brings me to the reason for this post. It was the day my child experienced a febrile convulsion for the first time ever and I do hope the last. I will not go through the details of what occurred on the day, but I will instead share the following tips with you, which I hope will prepare you adequately, in the event your child experiences such.
Firstly, what is a Febrile Convulsion?
FYI – Febrile means to feel feverish.
It is when convulsions occur, which are caused by a high body temperature, usually above 38 degrees. It is most common to occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5/6 years. It is also known as a febrile seizure or a fever fit. They usually last under 5 minutes and in most cases is harmless. It usually occurs on the first day of the of a fever.
TIPS TO MANAGE A FEVER
I strongly suggest attending some training as this will adequately prepare you for the unexpected, in the unfortunate event that you may experience something similar. It’s always better to be prepared and have some idea of what to do and also what not to do. As an example, have a look at the training courses provided by Brampton First Aid Training. For now, here are some tips to consider:
- Ensure that you have a thermometer for home use
- If you suspect a fever when your child feels warmer than usual, ALWAYS check immediately – even if it’s just for peace of mind
- Keep at-home medication readily available always:
Make sure they are not expired
Ensure that the correct dosage according to your child’s age is available
(Whilst many people are concerned or fear overdosing, it is imperative to note that the fever won’t break if you are underdosing)
- Ask your paediatrician which medication you should alternate between and after how many hours. E.g. (We alternate between the Empaped suppository and Nurofen every 4 hours)
- Use a damp cloth on the forehead to bring the temperature down
- Remove layers of clothes of the child – even if you think it’s cold. if your child has a high fever, remove the clothes. If he/she shivers, cover them
- Place the child in a bath of lukewarm water or give him/her a sponge bath
- Ensure your child is hydrated – ice cubes, water, yogurt
- Use a fan, without it blowing directly on the child, to cool the room
- If you’re outdoors, move to a shady area
- If you’ve done all the above, and the fever still isn’t breaking, consult a doctor immediately as there could be an underlying issue, like an infection
Note: Giving your child medication to break the fever may make them more comfortable but there is no guarantee that it will stop a convulsion from occurring.
DO’S AND DONT’S DURING A FEBRILE CONVULSION
- Do not panic, remain calm
- Place your child in a soft place, like a bed or couch, lying on his/her side or back
- If your child is standing when the convulsion occurs, ensure that you get him/her seated or lying down asap as falling could cause accidental injury
- Do not restrain your child
- Do not try to stop the convulsion
- Do not put your child in a bath to reduce the temperature
- Do not put your finger or anything else in your child’s mouth
- If you can, try to monitor how long the convulsion lasts
- As horrific as this may sound if you are able to get video footage recorded of the convulsion, do so as this will help the Doctor later
- If the convulsion is longer than 5 minutes, call an ambulance immediately
- If the convulsion lasts less than 5 minutes, but the child does not seem to be recovering quickly or was sick before the convulsion, call an ambulance
- If this is the child’s first febrile convulsion, seek medical attention to find out what the underlying cause was
- If the child stops breathing or turns blue, call an ambulance immediately
Blood tests indicated that Kayden had an infection in this throat. He was treated for this and for his fever. For peace of mind, we also did an EEG, to rule out the possibility of epilepsy, which was ruled out. It was conclusive that Kayden, therefore, experienced a febrile convulsion.
I wanted to share this with you my readers as I will not want for any of you to ever experience this. Even to those of you who are not parents, but look after children, it is of utmost importance that you know what to do when a child has a fever and in the event of a convulsion, what to do and what not to do.
I found the following two articles incredibly resourceful:
Do have a look at them and be prepared when your child has a fever, a child who has a fever of just under 38 degrees, can also have convulsions, from what I have learned. So, don’t assume that your child is ‘safe’. If the fever isn’t breaking, consult your doctor.