Overview on a febrile seizure

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A febrile seizure typically occurs among young children between 3 months up to 3 years old. It manifests as convulsions if a child has high fever, usually over 102.2 – 104 degrees F or higher.

The quick temperature change is a contributing factor for developing a seizure. This typically arises if the child is sick.


The signs of a febrile seizure vary depending on the type.


  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion or fatigue after an episode
  • Twitching of the limbs or convulsions
  • No leg or arm weakness
    febrile seizure
    The quick temperature change is a contributing factor for developing a seizure.

This type is the most common and only lasts less than 2 minutes but can reach up to 15 minutes. An episode only arises once within a 24-hour period.


  • Twitching of the limbs or convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Brief weakening, usually in one leg or arm

With this type of febrile seizure, it lasts more than 15 minutes. Several episodes can occur over a 30-minute period. It can occur more than once during a 24-hour period as well.

What are the causes?

A febrile seizure typically occurs if the child is sick, but in most cases, it arises before realizing that the child is sick. In most cases, it occurs on the first day of the illness where there are no other symptoms present.

Some of the usual causes include:

  • Fever that develops after receiving immunizations such as MMR. The fever typically arises 8-14 days after the child is given the immunization.
  • Fever due to a bacterial or viral infection such as roseola
  • Risk factors such as having a family history

Management of a febrile seizure

Although a febrile seizure will not trigger any lasting effects, it is vital to take the necessary steps if one occurs.

A doctor must be consulted or bring the child to the nearest emergency department after a seizure. This is vital to ensure that the child does not have meningitis, especially those below 1 year old.

When a child is having a febrile seizure, the following must be done:

  • Rolling the child onto his/her side
  • Avoid placing anything in the mouth
  • Do not limit movement of the twitching or convulsions
  • Remove or clear any objects that can cause harm during the convulsions
  • Note down the episode

Call for emergency assistance if an episode lasts more than 5 minutes or the child ceases to breathe.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on a febrile seizure is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the signs by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.


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