Seizures: Learn all about seizures

What is it?

Electrical impulses are always going through the brain during everyday activity and sleep. A seizure is a massive disorganized electrical discharge from the brain. In other words, a seizure occurs when a large number of cells in the brain begin to fire abnormally. There are numerous causes of seizures including injury to the head, infection, ingestion of toxic substances, fever, problems within the brain, and inherited disorders. In children, the most common cause of a seizure is fever. Quite often, the cause of the seizure is never discovered.

What are the symptoms?

Most seizures last under three minutes with the vast majority lasting less than ten. The symptoms of a seizure may vary depending upon which parts of the brain are affected. Most often there is a loss of consciousness along with uncontrolled muscle movement, including stiffening of the body and jerking of the arms and legs. The child may cry out although it is felt that seizures do not cause pain. While the breathing pattern may change during a seizure, it rarely ever stops completely. There may be loss of bowel and bladder function during the seizure.

What can/should be done at home

Once a seizure begins, there is nothing that can be done to stop it aside from medications that are sometimes prescribed for those who have repeated seizures. Therefore, treatment involves monitoring the child:

  • First, stay calm.
  • Then, protect the child from injury by making sure he isn't in a place where he could fall or run into sharp objects.
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