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Types of Seizures

Types of Seizures

We mentioned earlier in this topic that we would discuss the different types of seizure. Below you will find a description of the commonest varieties.

1. Generalised Seizures

• In these seizures, you have epileptic activity in both hemispheres (halves) of your brain. You usually lose consciousness during these types of seizure, but sometimes it can be so brief that no one notices. The muscles in your body may stiffen and/or jerk.

2. Focal (partial) Seizures

• In focal seizures, epileptic activity starts in just part of the person’s brain.
• You might be aware of what is going on around you in a focal seizure, or you might not.
• Different areas of the brain (lobes) are responsible for controlling all of our movements, body functions, feelings or reactions.
• So, focal seizures can cause many different symptoms dependant on which area is affected.
• It is important to be aware that Focal seizures can act as a warning of a generalised seizure.
• The epileptic activity that causes a focal seizure can sometimes spread through the brain and develop into a generalised seizure.

3. Febrile Convulsions

• Febrile convulsions are seizures occurring in children aged 6 months to 5 years. They happen with fever and without other underlying cause such as CNS infection or electrolyte imbalance.
• The mechanisms are unknown. It is uncertain whether the degree of fever or the rate of rise of temperature is a trigger in febrile seizures.
• There are uncommon atypical occurrences outside this age range (particularly between 3 and 6 months old and between 5 and 6 years old) which nonetheless otherwise fit the definition of a febrile convulsion.
• Between 2% and 5% of European children have a febrile convulsion.
• If the child is still convulsing or not fully alert: • Standard ABC protocols should be used
• Check blood glucose
• If still seizing >5 minutes, give rectal diazepam (this may be repeated after ten minutes if the seizure has not stopped) OR a single dose of buccal midazlolam (off-licence use).

The most common causes of febrile convulsions include:

• Viral infections
• Otitis media
• Tonsillitis

You can download more information on types of epilepsy and their presentations.

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This article is from the free online course:

Emergency and Urgent Care for Children: a Survival Guide

University of Birmingham