Epilepsy - Convulsions

B A B Y  A N D  C H I LD

Convulsions in Childhood

A convulsion or fit is a loss of consciousness associated with jerky muscle contractions. There may also be passing of urine, tongue biting, staring and turning of the head.

Prior to the episode, the child may complain of abnormal smells. Epilepsy is the commonest cause of recurring convulsive seizures. However, a single convulsion may occur in an otherwise healthy individual and itís important to find the cause.

A high fever in an infant or young child can produce a convulsive state.

Infections as a viral upper respiratory tract infection may be the cause of the temperature. Teething can be associated with high fevers in young infants but sometimes the cause of a fever associated with an isolated convulsive attack cannot be found, even after extensive investigation.

Occasionally fits can be the result of a more serious condition such as viral and bacterial meningitis, encephalitis, a tumour or abscess of the brain and trauma associated with bleeding which may be due to child abuse.

In infants under two years of age metabolic disturbances involving low blood sugar, blood calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6 may cause convulsive seizures. In older children drugs and alcohol may be the cause.

In the case of a young infant with a high temperature producing convulsions, the emergency treatment is to immerse the baby in a bath of cool or tepid water from the neck down.

Dry the child thoroughly and make it as comfortable as possible while waiting for your doctor. Repeat the bathing as necessary to keep your child cool. With older children the treatment is to prevent self injury, loosen clothing and make sure the airway is as clear as possible by turning the child on its side with its neck extended.

In the case of prolonged seizures the tongue may be bitten. To prevent this place a soft object (large enough not to be swallowed) between the clenched teeth.

If your child suffers an attack of convulsions it is a clear indication to call your doctor who will be in a position to determine the seriousness of the attack and to arrange for any necessary investigations.

- Aspirin and Young Children (Reyes Syndrome).- Autism.
- Bed Wetting or Nocturnal Enuresis. - Breast or Bottle Feeding.
- Chicken Pox (Varicella). - Childhood Immunization/Vaccination
- Convulsions in Childhood. - Croup.
- Cystic Fibrosis (CF). - Deafness in Childhood.
- Diarrhoea and Vomiting. - Downs Syndrome.
- Dyslexia. - Fever in Infants.
- German Measles (Rubella). -Heart Murmurs
-Heat Exhaustion in Children.-Hyperactivity in Childhood.
-Nappy Rash.-Normal Development (Baby Care).
-Speech Development in Children-Spina Bifida.
-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Cot Death.-Teething.
-Your Baby Won't Sleep.-Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

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