Febrile Freak-out

As a mother of a child who has had two febrile seizures, let me word dump some of that stress into this space for a moment.  I hope that the information here  might be useful to any parent experiencing any of these horrifying episodes.  

Febrile seizures are the most common seizure disorders in childhood according to the National Institute of Health.  The NIH also has a basic  information page here with plenty of facts, resources, and printable fact sheets if this is new to you and you need some solid information.  While this disorder may sound completely foreign to you (and me when the first one happened) according to the NIH one in 25 children will experience a febrile seizure (insert crying emoji).  Now that being said it sounds fairly common, which out pediatrician assured us that it was, but when you look at overall frequency only 2 to 5 percent of children in the US will experience a febrile seizure.  Forty percent of those children will go on to have a second seizure.  If a child has recurrent, or even one isolated seizure, these are most likely to occur between the ages of 6 months and 5 years, although our ped. said up to 6 to be safe.  

What is the difference between febrile seizures and epilepsy?  A febrile seizure is provoked by a high temperature are considered to be short-term seizure disorders.  Meaning that the majority of children will outgrow the disorder after the age of five.  Epilepsy is a disorder characterized by unprovoked seizures.  Fun fact epilepsy in children can be controlled safely with medical marijuana (MM) .  I have not heard of any treatment in children with febrile seizures so I do not  endorse any unadvised administration MM to children with this type of disorder since seizures under 15 minutes are considered to be harmless  (I know right, my voice hit an octave I didn't realize I had on that 911 phone call.  My mother was in the background screaming for dead relatives.  Concentrating was a little difficult.  Harmless my ass.)  


Do not, I repeat, DO NOT give your child a cool/cold/lukewarm/warm ANY TYPE of bath!

This was a previous unsupported method of treatment that is more probable to provoke quick temperature fluctuations.  We literally do not bathe Adrian from onset to two/three days after his last high temperature!


yup, that washcloth is shoved down in his pits, and he is NOT happy!  

yup, that washcloth is shoved down in his pits, and he is NOT happy!  

Not ice cold, you don't want an extreme temperature fluctuation like the bath, and you want your mini not to reject the thought of this treatment outright.  You do want it cold/cool enough and on their torso, armpits, and I even tuck it under his groin.  We've had hours of holding cold wet cloths between us. I'm sure there will be varying levels of rejection to this therapy, but this is essentially what they did to him in the emergency room, and it is what we have used for fevers in between and after and seems to be the most effective.


Go ahead and get three, or however many rooms there are in your home..  Not every thermometer is the same.  I have an old mercury thermometer (MT) for accuracy.  I found most of the thermometers we had to be within 0.5 degrees of the MT, and learned to auto-calculate.  


I definitely did not do this during the first seizure.  I think if I had I would have definitely been more easily calmed after the initial event.  I also think it was helpful in recovery assessment after his second.  His first seizure may have lasted about a minute, and his second lasted about a minute and a half.


Getting any child to allow you to place cold wash cloths on their body can be hard enough, and sitting through the crying can be grueling, try smoothies to cool from the inside out.  I boost his smoothies with reishi spores or chaga elixir from Four Sigmatic.

febrile cooling.jpg

I also boost his elderberry syrup intake at the onset of any sickness, to 1 teaspoons every two hours.  I use the Wellness Mama recipe!

I know this can be hard for sick littles too, but water water WATER!!!  

Honeys, I keep manuka honey on hand and usually give him spoonfulls throughout any major sicknesses.  Honey itself is highly antibacterial and antimicrobial and can help boost immunity, not to mention soothes sore throats.  We buy the Wedderspoon Manuka from Thrive Market.

Broths, clear liquids, normal cold protocols work!


We do use ibuprofen to help control his fevers.  If you have ever witnessed a child having a seizure once, trust me you will always keep this medication on hand.  Ibuprofen is your safer option for children, as Tylenol/Acetaminophen is linked to autism.  We also buy the versions without dyes, also linked to autism, but I have found it difficult to find them without flavors.


Seizure protocol is the same no matter what type of seizure disorder you're dealing with.  Place your child on their size, make sure their airways are clear, remove any restrictive clothing, note time of onset, and if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes call 911.  If it is your first seizure, don't wait, call 911 IMMEDIATELY, you do not want to diagnose a seizure disorder without the aide of a trained physician, febrile or otherwise, please seek medical attention.

I hope this experience never gets dropped on your plate, but if it does I hope this is helpful.  Please share your experiences or tricks in the comments below.  


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