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Part 4: Keeping Your Child Healthy  >  The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses  >  Convulsions or Fits or Seizures

CONVULSIONS OR FITS OR SEIZURES

In simple terms, a convulsion or a fit refers to abnormal involuntary movement(s) of the body with or without disturbed consciousness. The movements can involve almost the whole body or just the finger or any other part of the body. Unconsciousness may be prolonged or may be momentary and take the form of a stare. 

Most causes of convulsions are not serious and disappear as the child grows older. A few types may need medication for 2 years or more.

MANAGEMENT OF A CONVULSION:
Step 1:
As a prolonged convulsion can affect the brain, it makes sense to control it. Fortunately, most convulsions last a minute or two and stop on their own. Usually, a drug (diazepam or phenytoin) is injected into the vein of the child to stop the convulsion. Sometimes, a different drug may be injected into the muscles.

You must not give the child anything by mouth while he is having a convulsion.

If your child has a tendency to get convulsions, especially with high fever, your doctor may advise rectal administration of diazepam. It is quite effective if used soon after the child is found to have fever. Diazepam by mouth has also been found to be helpful to prevent convulsions with fever. It is also to be started with the onset of fever. However, rectal administration is more effective than oral.

Do not panic when your child has continuous convulsions. It is no use making the child smell a shoe or onions. If he is still convulsing, put a spoon wrapped in a piece of cloth in between his teeth to prevent him biting his tongue. Let him lie with his head a little lower than his body and turn him to one side to prevent aspiration of any vomit. (Do not lower the head if there is history of head injury prior to the onset of the convulsion). It is no use holding the child to stop the convulsion. Only make sure that he does not hurt himself. If you find that his skin and lips are turning blue and he has stopped breathing, start mouth-to-mouth breathing.

Step 2: Note the condition of the child after the convulsion has stopped or after the effect of the medicine given to control the convulsion has worn off.

A child may normally sleep for some time after a fit. If he looks perfectly normal after the fit, we are probably dealing with a less serious cause of convulsion, for which hospitalisation is not needed. However, a child with convulsion following a recent head injury often needs observation in a hospital. In any case, let your doctor take the final decision about hospitalisation.

A child who does not look well after a convulsion or in between two convulsions needs extra attention.

Step 3: Find out the cause of the convulsion and treat it. A child who had a difficult birth or who has a deficiency of glucose or calcium in his system may get a convulsion. One out of 4 children with a sudden rise of fever may get a short duration fit between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. These are called febrile convulsions. Some infants a d toddlers may hold their breath and some of these may also get a fit following a bout of crying. Treatment with iron is found to be effective in reducing the incidence of breath-holding spells in some children.

A few serious causes of convulsions are cerebral malaria, meningitis, encephalitis, poisoning, brain tumour and head injury. In some cases, the cause of convulsion cannot be determined and your doctor may make a diagnosis of epilepsy. If he suspects this diagnosis, he may ask for an EEG (electroencephalogram) and decide to put the child on a drug for prolonged use to control the convulsions. Certain drugs require a blood test to rule out any possible side effect or to know if the dose of the drug being given is optimum. For certain types of convulsions, your doctor may ask for other tests including a CT scan of the brain and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to examine the CSF (cerebro-spinal fluid). For intractable convulsions that donít respond to drugs, a part of the brain is removed with good results.

A few newborns and older children get a convulsion once and never again. Hence, it is important not to panic if your child gets a convulsion. However, as frequent convulsions can cause harm to the child, it is important to take fits seriously. 

Seizures can also manifest as staring spells, mostly between the age of 5 and 12 years. Multiple attacks of such spells could lead to a decline in scholastic performance. Some children get staring spells which are not due to epilepsy and do not need any treatment. They are considered non-epileptic when parents report preserved responsiveness to touch, though the child suffers no limb twitches, upward movement of eyes, interruption of play or urinary incontinence. However, confirmation is required in such children on long-term follow-up.

In some children, videogames can induce seizure. Stopping the child from playing videogames may be all that is required to halt the recurrence of convulsions, but some of these children may need long-term anticonvulsant drugs.

Step 4:
Attend to psychosocial factors. Meet the school authorities. Tell them that your child is prone to fits. If required, take a letter from your doctor so that the teacher knows what to do if the child gets a fit in the classroom or on the playground. Children who suffer from epileptic fits can take part in sports like swimming, but under supervision. In general, they should be treated as normal children and not be overprotected.




16 June, 2014

 
Part 4
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses

Abdominal Pain
Abrasions or Scratches
Acute Glomerulonephritis
Acute Nephritis
Acute Watery Diarrhoea
Addictions
Adenoids
AIDS
Allergies
Anaemia
Anorexia (Poor Appetite)
Asthma
ADHD
Autism
Backache
Bed-Wetting (Enuresis)
Birth Deformities
Bites and Stings
Bleeding
Bone, Joint and Muscle Injuries
Bowlegs and Knock-Knees
Breathlessness
Bronchiolitis
Burns
Calcium Deficiency
Cancer
Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation
Cerebral Palsy (CP)
Chickenpox
Choking
Circumcision
Cleft Lip and Palate
Common Cold
Congenital Heart Disease
Constipation
Convulsions or Fits or Seizures
Cough
Croup
Crying
Cuts
Dengue Fever
Diabetes Mellitus
Diarrhoea, Dysentery ...
Diphtheria
Down's Syndrome
Earache, Ear Infections ...
Electric Shock
Encephalitis
Eye Problems
Fears
Foot Problems
German Measles (Rubella)
Glands in the Neck ...
Headache
Head Injury
Hepatitis
Hydrocephalus
Hypertension
Hypospadias
Influenza (Flu)
Jaundice
Joint Disorders
Kala-Azar
Leptospirosis
Limp and Pain in the Legs
Malaria
Malnutrition (Undernutrition)
Measles
Meningitis
Meningomyelocele
Menstrual Problems
Mental Retardation (MR)
Mouth To Mouth Breathing
Mumps
Nephrotic Syndrome
Nose-Related Problems
Obesity
Pneumonia
Poisoning
Poliomyelitis
Premature Baby
Prolapse of the Rectum
Rabies
Rheumatic Fever
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rickets
Short Child
Skin Conditions
Sleep and Sleep Problems
Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)
Splinters
Stammering
Stridor (Noisy Breathing)
Teething and Care of Teeth
Tetanus (Lock Jaw)
Thrush
Thumb-Sucking
Tics
Torticollis
Tracheoesophageal Fistula
Tropical Eosinophilia
Tuberculosis (TB)
Typhoid
Umbilical Problems
Undescended Testis
Urinary Infection
Vaginal Discharge
Vomiting
Wheezing
Whooping Cough (Pertusis)



Part 4
Keeping Your Child Healthy
Choosing A Paediatrician
Proper Use of Medicines
Home Remedies
A First Aid Kit
The A-Z of Childhood Illnesses
Psychological Concerns
Managing A Hospital Stay
Emergencies
Prayer And Your Child's Health
The Role of Nature Cure
Homoeopathy
Ayurveda and Child Care
Congenital Heart Disease FAQ
 
Guide to Child Care
Home
Introduction
1 Pregnancy, Childbirth ...
2 The Growing Years
3 Feeding Infants, ...
4 Keeping Your Child Healthy
5 Keeping Your Child Happy
About Dr. R. K. Anand
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