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Infantile convulsions: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About infantile convulsions

Infantile convulsions, as the name suggests, are convulsions which characteristically occur in small children. Convulsions also called seizures which occur as a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain cells. Infantile convulsions, in most cases are harmless and disappear by 5 years of age.

Infantile convulsions: Incidence, age and sex

Infantile convulsions are generally encountered in children in the age group of 6 months to 5 years. Toddlers are more frequently affected. No gender bias has yet been documented.

Signs and symptoms of infantile convulsions: Diagnosis

The occurrence of infantile convulsions usually coincides with a history of infection (usually upper respiratory tract infection). The child may be pale and lethargic. The convulsion is accompanied by rolling back of eyes, drooling of saliva, gritting of teeth or stiffening of limbs. Some children may vomit or even bite the tongue. It may or may not be accompanied by loss of consciousness. However, the child usually recovers from the convulsion within a few seconds to minutes.

A detailed history and physical examination usually confirms the diagnosis. Neurological assessment or other investigations may be considered to rule out any other causes of such convulsions.

Causes and prevention of infantile convulsions

Convulsions are caused by abnormal electrical signals in the brain. The exact cause of infantile convulsions is not very clear. But it has been known to follow a respiratory infection and high fever. Sometimes meningitis (infection of the membranes of the brain) may also lead to infantile convulsions. Moreover, familial tendency may also play a role in causing these convulsions.

Infantile convulsions: Complications

Complications of infantile convulsions are seldom encountered. But tongue biting or breathing fluid in wind pipe may occasionally be seen.

Infantile convulsions: Treatment

Infantile convulsions are harmless wherein the child may experience seizure when he/she has very high fever. This type of seizure activity is self-limiting and generally subsides as the child grows up. During an episode of convulsion, it is advisable to remove his/her tight clothing and sponge the body with tepid water. The child mostly recovers within a few minutes. In occasional cases, when the child may fail to recover, immediate medical help must be sought for subsequent resuscitative measures.

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