Fever Seizures by Janell Kaufman

Hope you had a great Easter Sunday yesterday! I have a food hangover, but I’ll get over it. Who knew Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese recipe would be so good—too good (and I don’t even normally like Mac & Cheese or Martha, but I’ll make an exception for this recipe, which I’ll share at the end of the week).

Well, it’s Monday–back to reality. Darn.

I hope you all have a great week!

We’ll start the week off with an article about fever seizures. Hopefully you will never have to experience this kind of fever! Janell’s friend recently asked her to share her story about fever seizures since she is currently dealing with them, and we thought it would be something we could share with you too. Let us know if you have a story you’d like to share.

Here is Janell…

Fever Seizures

It was an ordinary February day and I was holding my thirteen-month-old baby girl in my lap on the couch, nursing her and marveling at her perfection. When she stopped nursing and fell away from my body, I, at first, thought that she had fallen asleep. Then I realized that she wasn’t breathing. I tried shaking her gently, while at the same time yelling for my husband, but there was no response. The brief thought that she was dead passed over me and I almost gave up in my immediate grief. Her skin was starting to take on a bluish hue. My husband pulled her from my arms and laid her out on the floor and began CPR while handing me the phone with 911 dialed. After a couple of minutes of agony and fear, she coughed, threw up, and started crying, just as the ambulance arrived.

I only wanted to hold her to myself but suddenly there were five very helpful EMT’s in my tiny living room. My daughter registered a fever of 106’ (she hadn’t even been sick) and was diagnosed with pneumonia. The seizure we had just been dealing with was caused by the sudden onset of the fever. We had never heard of such a thing.

Fever or Febrile seizures affect between 2-5% of children and are most often characterized by loss of consciousness and convulsing or shake lasting for one to three minutes. I think that it would have been less scary if she had been shaking rather than looking dead. And it sure as hell was the longest three minutes of my life when she had that first seizure.

Yes, first seizure! About 30% of children who have a fever seizure are likely to have another one within the next year. We had at least five more over the next four years. Although they never got less scary at least we knew what we were dealing with after the first few, and even got to the point where we stopped calling 911 and just dealt with it ourselves. We learned how to rotate medicine so that she would never come down off a dosage any time there was any threat of a fever.

Research shows that a fever seizure doesn’t affect the child neurologically and that they should be back to normal within about 90 minutes of having the seizure. Our experience was a little different. It seemed to take our girl a couple of months to get over it every time she had a fever seizure. It would set her back developmentally and, oddly enough, would make her afraid of water, every single time.

Fever seizures are one of those things that no one really talks about, or hears about, until they are dealing with the scary reality of having a child seem dead in their arms. It is a secret of moms that needs to be shared!

Our daughter stopped having fever seizures when she was about 5 but I still, five years later, watch her very closely for signs of seizures!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Deborah the Closet Monster
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 09:27:31

    As a parent, even reading about this filled me with dread. My stomach clenched at the thought of experiencing the same, especially that first time, when it’s impossible to know what’s going on or what will be the end result.

    As a daughter, it’s interesting to read this and know this is likely something I experienced when I was little. My mom told me I had seizures from time to time, but they never found anything wrong with me neurologically. I hadn’t thought about this since I’ve become a parent. It was simply a matter of fact statement then, but now? Oy!

    I’m so glad those days are (seem to be?) gone for you. I’m glad, too, to be armed with this knowledge–just in case. Thanks for that!


  2. morganashearth
    Apr 25, 2011 @ 14:21:12

    I went through this with my son( Who is now 15) I remember how scary it was. My heart goes out to you…


  3. wifemom&writer
    Apr 30, 2011 @ 11:05:18

    A friend of mine just dealt with this very same thing not two days ago and I could only imagine how scary it was for her to experience. I look at my baby and couldn’t imagine seeing her have one, thank you for the helpful information. I’m glad the little girl is no longer having them and I will definitely tell my friend about this blog.


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