Febrile fits are more common in infants and children than adults. Thus, this disease can be considered the intolerable nature or intensified suffering of the tender brain against high fever. Incidences seem to be more common in toddlers whose age is less than two years. Also, it is found to be more common in boys than girls. The reason is unknown. It also seems to be more common with children who have cerebral palsy, delayed milestones and other neurological abnormalities. More commonly, it occurs when temperature shoots up above 102 F.
Usually vary from child to child. It can occur anywhere in the body any time without warning. It presents symptoms generally as twitching (focal or generalised).
- Blinking / twitching of eyelids and other parts
- Deviation of mouth angle with movements
- Stiff face / painful facial expression
- Drooling and frothy saliva with severe gasping
- Rigidity and spasms in the parts involved – commonly arms flexed and
- Rythmic jerky movements in parts with alternate tightness (spasm) and relaxation
In severe cases, violent attack follows without any relaxation causing status epilepticus which can endanger life
- Coma or loss of consciousness after suffering
- Routine blood tests and urine tests (to rule out any infection, anaemia, low or high sugar levels, metabolic disorders, poisoning, hormonal imbalance, etc.)
- X-ray of skull (in AP view and lateral view) / CT / MRI scan (to identify any bleeding spots / clots / brain tumours / cysts)
- Electroencephalography (EEG) – to find out abnormal brain functions
- Neurological analysis (to analyse muscle coordination, movements, reflexes)
- Spinal tap and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in case of suspicion of meningitis
Prevention and management – Prevention is always better than cure. So, the first and foremost thing to do is to avoid getting fever by following hygienic measures and proper treatment. In case of recurrent fever, it is better to analyse and eliminate the root cause (for example – tonsillitis). Secondly, treat the fever immediately to arrest it at the earliest i.e., care should be taken in all means that the temperature should not be allowed to rise above 101 F. In case of high fever, the child should be given complete bed rest and sponge bath often to bring the body temperature below 101 F. To combat dehydration, fluid intake should be enhanced sufficiently. If necessary, child can be hospitalised.
- Protect the child from any injury by supporting and cushioning during seizure
- Try to remove all objects / furniture away from the child during jerks
- Loosen the dresses and keep good aeration
- Do not try to stop or hold the sufferer as you cannot stop it or make it go off all of a sudden – allow the seizure to run its natural course
- Do not give anything in the hand to the child during a seizure – it will harm the child
- Do not give anything through the mouth – even water or medicines as they cannot swallow at the time.
- Also avoid putting any objects in the mouth to avoid tongue biting or choking
- Extend the head (stretching backwards) so that breathing will be easier for the child
- Roll over the child to lie on the side so that frothy saliva can drool out (avoiding choking / avoiding entering into lungs causing bronchitis or pneumonia)
Mostly there won’t be any complication at all with febrile fits i.e. when treated properly and cared for well thereafter to prevent future recurrences. Only when it is left untreated or maltreated, epilepsy can strike roots and reflect in all facets of life with continuous suffering, i.e., in education, employment, quality of life, etc. The anti-convulsant drugs used for treatment will cause most of the complication than the disease itself. So it is better to avoid unnecessary medications. Using anti-epileptic medicines unnecessarily for a prolonged period will cause
- Dullness and poor concentration (children cannot cope with study as before)
Kidney and liver can suffer damage
- Finally lack of care / treatment can lead one to emergency situation i.e., violent continuous seizure (Status epilepticus) / death
Children usually outgrow febrile fits. Also febrile fits commonly will not affect intellectual thoughts or activities. So, parents need not worry about the child’s future. Sedative medicines often prescribed will suppress febrile fits and also the mind / thoughts of the child. Homeopathy always claims that it is always wise to treat the condition than to suppress it with tranquiller or anti-convulsants, i.e., for seizure or treatment should not stop brainy activities.