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Electroencephalogram in Children


What you need to know about an EEG:

An EEG is a test that measures the electrical activity in your child's brain. It can help healthcare providers decide what treatments your child needs. An EEG can help diagnose or monitor any of the following:

  • Seizures
  • Sleep disorders
  • Brain infection, disease, or injury
  • Brain activity during brain surgery or a coma
  • Brain activity before a medical procedure or surgery

How to prepare your child for an EEG:

Your child's healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare your child for an EEG. He will tell you what medicines to give your child or not give on the day of the test. Do not let your child drink or eat foods with caffeine on the day of the test. Do not put oils or lotions on your child's scalp or hair for 24 hours before the test. This includes conditioner, hair spray, hair cream, or hair gel.

What will happen during an EEG:

  • Your child will not feel pain during the test. You may be able to stay with your child during the test or you may need to leave the room. Healthcare providers will ask your child to lie still and not talk during the test. A healthcare provider will put gel or cream on your child's scalp. He will place small discs in different places on your child's head. The discs will be connected to wires and a monitor. The monitor will record the electrical activity of your child's brain.
  • During the test your child may be asked to change how fast he or she breathes. Your child may also be asked to look at pictures or a flashing light. The healthcare provider may make loud noises.
  • Bright lights or loud noises may cause you to have a seizure during the test. Healthcare providers may give you medicine to control or stop your seizure. They will also help protect you from injury.
  • Your child may be given medicine to help him or her sleep during the test. Your child may also be videotaped during the test. The videotape will help healthcare providers watch for signs of a seizure.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child stops breathing, turns blue, or you cannot feel his pulse.
  • Your child cannot be woken after his seizure.
  • Your child's seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
  • Your child has more than 1 seizure before he is fully awake or aware.
  • Your child has a seizure and is diabetic.
  • Your child has a seizure in the water.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child does not act normally after a seizure.
  • Your child is very weak and tired, has a stiff neck, or cannot stop vomiting.
  • Your child is injured during a seizure.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has seizures even with treatment.
  • Your child picks at his clothes, smacks his lips, or fidgets, but does not seem to be aware of his actions.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

What to do if your child has a seizure:

  • Do not panic.
  • Note the start time of the seizure. Record how long it lasts.
  • Gently guide your child to the floor or a soft surface. Cushion his head and remove sharp objects from the area around him.
  • Place your child on his side to help prevent him from swallowing saliva or vomit.
  • Loosen your child's clothing around the head and neck.
  • Remove any objects from your child's mouth. Do not put anything in your child's mouth. This may prevent him from breathing.
  • Perform CPR if your child stops breathing or you cannot feel his pulse.
  • Let your child sleep or rest after his seizure. He may be confused for a short time after his seizure. Do not give him anything to eat or drink until he is fully awake.

Give your child's medicine as directed:

Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if your child has side effects. Tell your child's healthcare provider if your child is taking any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines your child takes. Include the amounts, and when and why your child takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Electroencephalogram in Children (Ambulatory Care)

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