Convulsions can be a scary thing for a parent to see happening to their child. Generally children can experience these episodes up until they are around six years old. When their small bodies have a temperature that rises rapidly in a short period of time it can create a shaking throughout the body. Try not to panic when a convulsion happens.
A convulsion happens because there is a problem in the normal activity of the brains electrical waves. These occurrences are usually related to serious health conditions such as kidney infections, upper respiratory infections, the flu, and other ailments that cause fevers.
When a child has received the measles mumps and rubella vaccine there is a slim chance that within two weeks they can have convulsions due to fever. These occurrences are rare, and you should ask your doctor for more information on this matter.
Do Convulsions Damage the Childs Brain?
This is a common fear that parents have, and no a convulsion will not leave any lasting effects on the child. To further dispel rumors you may have heard you need to know that convulsions will not leave your child mentally retarded, your child is not going to die because of this, and your child is not going to have epilepsy because of a convulsion. A convulsion and an epileptic seizure are not the same thing. One last thing to know; convulsions are not inherited so your child is not suffering from a condition that they received from either of their parents.
Signs and Symptoms
The first thing you may notice in a child who is having a convulsion is their legs or arms twitching, or beginning to jerk. You may notice these muscle spasms occurring in the facial features of the child. The child may pass out during the seizure, and they will more than likely seem to be unaware of what is happening. It is common for a child to vomit during a convulsion, and they frequently will urinate on themselves or evacuate their bowels. This should only last a few moments, and when it is over the child may appear sleepy, or confused. It is common for them to be irritable immediately following a convulsion.
What to Do During a Convulsion
- Gently roll the child onto their side to prevent them from vomiting and choking, or aspirating the vomit.
- Do not place any objects into the mouth of the child
- Gently place your hand on the child’s back to help them stay in a position on their side, but do not apply forceful pressure
- Remain calm and speak to the child in a reassuring and gentle voice, if panic so will the child
How to Tell If You Need to Take the Child to the Hospital
When a child has recurring convulsions you need to make their doctor aware. If your child has one that lasts longer than five minutes you need to go ahead and take them to the emergency room. The child may need a medication administered to calm them and stop the seizure.