Answer: Here is some information from the Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand website:
- Febrile convulsions are fits (seizures), which occur as the result of a fever. These occur in three percent of children usually between the ages of six months and six years. Very few children have more than three febrile convulsions. Most febrile convulsions only last a minute or two. If a convulsion continues for more than five minutes you should call for an ambulance.
- Febrile convulsions can be frightening for the person who is witnessing the seizure because they may resemble an epileptic fit. Febrile convulsions are only caused by fever, whereas epileptic fits can be instigated by other factors. There is no evidence to suggest that a simple febrile convulsion will cause any lasting damage. Febrile convulsions do not cause epilepsy.
- Sometimes a febrile convulsion may be the first sign that the child has a fever. It is important therefore, for parents to find out what illness is causing the fever as soon as possible after the febrile convulsion. It is the role of the doctor to decide on the nature of the illness.
A normal temperature for a child is 36 – 37°C. Temperatures over 38°C are usually regarded as a fever. It is normal for a range of factors including physical activity, strong emotions, high humidity levels and high room temperature to make a child feel hot. In these circumstances a child’s temperature will soon return to normal. If it does not return to normal or there is no apparent reason for the child to feel hot this may indicate that the child has a fever.
A child who is unwell with a fever may display other symptoms or may have a change in behaviour. Children with a high temperature will often have several, or all of the following symptoms:
- Clammy skin.
- Irritability and crying.
- Flushed appearance.
- Aches and pains.
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