- It is far from all children affected by fever cramps. Fever cramps are usually something that goes over and does not leave any lasting but with the child.
When body temperature rises rapidly, young children, up to the age of five, may have something called a febrile seizure. The child gets twitches, can lose consciousness and the body becomes pale and maybe even blue. For you as a parent it can be a scary experience and it is therefore important to have knowledge of what fever cramps actually mean.
However, far from all children are affected, it is expected that no more than one in twenty children will have a fever spasm one or more times in toddler age.
Cause of fever cramps in children
Fever seizures are really an epileptic seizure. However, this does not mean that the child has epilepsy but simply that a child’s brain is more sensitive to elevated temperatures. Also, therefore, this type of seizure is not infrequently associated with and at the beginning of an infection, for example in a common cold. the seizures cause a temporary direction in the brain and this usually does not mean that there is any further serious illness behind the attack. Fever cramps can also occur as a result of vaccination, which is unusual but occurs. However, there is no reason to avoid vaccination.
This is a fever spasm
- Usually occurs at temperatures above 38.5 degrees.
- Usually lasts for a shorter period, max 15 minutes but usually 5 minutes or less.
- Rarely gives any remaining though.
At most one in twenty children is estimated to have fever cramps one or more times in toddler age, and of these, one-third is at risk of having it again. There is a hereditary factor that increases the risk of suffering if one of the parents or a sibling has had a fever.
Symptoms of fever cramps
Although fever cramps last for a short while, you as a parent can easily experience it as an eternity. That’s because fever cramps can be a scary experience and experience as quite dramatic, especially if it’s the first time.
Common symptoms of fever cramps
- The child loses consciousness.
- The whole body becomes rigid.
- The head bends back.
- The skin turns pale.
- The skin may turn a little blue.
- Arms and legs twitch.
The seizure usually lasts for a few minutes and the child may, because of the effort, be relaxed afterwards but usually recover quickly. If you as a parent are upset, it can affect how the child experiences the situation, so you can always try to the extent that it is possible to act reassuring, even if the situation has been scary even for you as an adult. Although it can look dramatic, fever cramps are usually harmless to the child and do not give any lasting but.
Fever cramps – then you should seek care
If this is the first time your child has a seizure in connection with a fever, you should seek treatment immediately. Call 112 about the child:
- Get cramps several times during the same day.
- Has ongoing muscle twitching and is rigid in the body.
- Does not regain consciousness within two minutes.
Otherwise you can call the health information and get help with a further assessment. If none of the above occurs, this is not the first time your child has a history of fever cramps and you know how to act, you do not need to contact the healthcare provider.
Diagnosis in case of fever spasm
Not infrequently, most children have recovered from the fever cramps when they come to care. It is rare for the doctor to find any cause other than just any kind of virus infection with fever, and then no further investigations are needed. If the child does not cope better or with prolonged seizures, you need to find out the underlying cause of the fever and the seizure.
Children are also investigated who have had repeated seizures during the same period of fever, have had more than four seizures, are under six months or over five years. If the fever has been below 39 degrees or only affected certain parts of the body, such as an arm, a leg or just one half of the body, you also need to look into what the cause may be.
Treatment for febrile seizures
If the febrile seizure goes on, no special type of drug treatment is used. If the child does not get better or just in case of prolonged seizures, you can use anticonvulsant medication.
For many parents, it may feel safe to stay in the hospital for a little while to recover as it, if it is the first time the seizure, can be experienced as a traumatic event. Then you also have the opportunity to get the information you need about the attack.
Living with fever cramps
It is far from all children affected by fever cramps, fever cramps are usually something that goes over and does not leave any lasting but with the child. It is not possible to prevent or treat fever cramps by giving the child fever-reducing drugs. Also, cooling with the help of damp towels or the like is not effective when it comes to preventing a possible seizure. If the child has recurrent seizures, as in consultation with a doctor, anticonvulsant medicines can be prescribed.
Tips for febrile seizures!
- Avoid inserting any kind of bit guard in the child’s mouth during the attack – it can do more harm than good.
- Take time for the cramp if possible – it helps you as a parent and also the care in the perception of the severity of the seizure.
- Be there for your child by talking calmly to the child and being present.
Generally taking care of the child during a cold and infection goes a long way and if a fever spasm should occur it is good that as a parent be read before the situation. If this is the first time your child has seizures in connection with a fever, you should always contact the healthcare provider.