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Summary: Seizures

Seizures are a common but scary presentation for parents and medical professionals.

In this activity we have looked at an example of a common presentation of a seizure and how it has been managed. Oscar had a “generalised tonic clonic” seizure, which is the seizure pattern most people recognise. It is important to appreciate that children presenting with seizures don’t always present the same way, and that despite not “shaking all 4 limbs” there can be more subtle signs which may suggest that the child is still fitting. As with many illnesses parents history can be key in the recognition and development of these patterns.

In this activity we have discussed and we hope you have more of an understanding of:

  • Recognition of a seizure
  • When a seizure is an emergency and how to start treatment
  • Common side effects of drugs used in seizures

Treatment of seizures should start after 5 minutes of the seizure starting as it is important to reduce the length of the seizure ultimately to prevent brain damage. Treatment with benzodiazepines, such as diazepam or lorazapam are first line, and oral or rectal medication should be chosen as first line in children, as they can be more difficult to obtain intravenous access, which prevents timely treatment. Remember parents in children who are known to fit may have already given rescue midazolam before your arrival!

Febrile convulsions are common and generally are short-lived

Children are likely to have simple viral illnesses, but it is important to be aware and look for signs of more serious illnesses such as meningitis. These children should be checked out by a medical professional.

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This article is from the free online course:

Emergency and Urgent Care for Children: a Survival Guide

University of Birmingham