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What is a seizure in children?
Seizures are one of the most common forms of epileptic seizure and usually rely on the appearance rapid, involuntary, rhythmic and usually self-limiting skeletal muscle contractions (result of abnormal and uncontrolled discharges of neurons within the motor cortex). In most cases, the compulsion is accompanied by disturbances or also complete loss of consciousness combined with forgetfulness of the whole event.
Seizure - the most common causes
As we mentioned at the beginning, there can be many reasons for convulsions. Among them, the most important seem:
- Fever - the most common cause of non-epileptic seizures in the pediatric population (according to various data, they occur in 2 to 5% of toddlers aged 6 months to 6 years) due to the immaturity of the childhood nervous system. Febrile seizures usually last less than 10 minutes and have no negative impact on the child's further psychomotor development.
- hypoglycemia- low blood glucose is another common cause of convulsions in children (especially in the population of children with type 1 diabetes - the most common cause of hypoglycaemia is taking too much insulin without skipping a meal).
- Injury - the children's nervous system is very sensitive and even minor head injuries can result in loss of consciousness and a brief seizure.
- Drug or alcohol poisoning - even small doses of alcohol or other substances with psychoactive effects (especially here in today's popular and very dangerous highs) can cause a number of neurological symptoms such as disturbance of consciousness, behavioral disorders or convulsions.
- Meningitis - this disease is most often caused by viruses and bacteria (among them meningococcal meningitis is the most dangerous) and is manifested, among others, by fever, severe headache, neck stiffness or convulsive seizures and various degrees of consciousness disturbance.
- Epilepsy - convulsive seizures occur in about 60% of patients suffering from this disease (the remaining 40% are seizure-free seizures. For example, short-term loss of consciousness called seizures or atonic seizures associated with sudden loss of muscle tone). It is worth noting that the diagnosis of epilepsy requires at least two unprovoked seizures more than 24 hours apart.
Seizure in children - first aid
A seizure in children is certainly a very stressful event, but it requires strong action from parents or other childminders. If your child experiences a compulsion:
- Protect your toddler from head injuries. The best way is to put the child on a soft surface and put a pillow or blanket under the head.
- Lay the child in a lateral position. This is to prevent the unconscious toddler from collapsing his tongue, and thus protect him from breathing problems.
- Call an ambulance. If the seizure lasts more than 10 minutes and the child occurred for the first time, it is advisable to call an ambulance or urgently go to the ER.
- Refrain from putting any objects into the child's mouth. Attempting to put any objects into the child's mouth can be very dangerous for him and cause breathing problems.
- Refrain from giving the child any medications or liquids. A child protected from injury should be left alone until the seizure is over. Do not administer medication until after its completion and consultation with the pediatrician.
- Observe the child after the seizure. Shortly after the assault, the child may behave strangely and not remember the whole event.
Summarizing, a fit may occur in a child of any age. And hence, every parent should be prepared for him as much as possible. The key is to know how to handle your child's seizures correctly.