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Frontal Lobe Seizures in Children
is an abnormal burst of electrical activity in your child's brain. A frontal lobe seizure starts in the frontal lobe of the brain. This is located at the front of the brain, behind your child's forehead. This part of the brain controls many functions. A frontal lobe seizure is called a focal seizure because it starts in one part of your child's brain. The seizure may last under 30 seconds and may happen while he or she sleeps. It may be simple or complex. Simple means your child stays aware of his or her surroundings. Complex means he or she loses awareness. The seizure can become a generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizure. This may cause your child to have convulsions.
Common signs and symptoms of a frontal lobe seizure:
- Head and eye movement to one side
- Trouble speaking, or yelling profanities
- Laughing for no reason
- Body postures that are stiff or look like your child is fighting someone
- Rocking his or her body or thrusting his or her hips
- Staring and not responding when spoken to
- Making motions like he or she is chewing or swallowing, or he or she tastes something that is not real
- Fear or mood swings
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Your child's seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes.
- Your child has a second seizure within 24 hours of the first.
- Your child has trouble breathing after a seizure.
- Your child has diabetes and has a seizure.
- Your child has a seizure in water, such as a swimming pool or bathtub.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your child is injured during a seizure.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child feels he or she is not able to cope with frontal lobe seizures.
- Your child's seizures start to happen more often.
- Your child is confused longer than usual after a seizure.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Common signs and symptoms of a frontal lobe seizure:
- Sudden bursts of anger or aggression
- An aura (warning sign of a seizure), such as nausea or smelling something that is not real
- Staring with no awareness of your surroundings
- Not responding when spoken to
- Lip smacking, chewing, or picking at your clothes without knowing you are doing it
- Confusion and speech or behavior problems after a seizure
- A headache or muscle pain after a seizure
The goal of treatment is to try to stop your child's seizures completely. Your child may need any of the following:
- Medicines will help control your child's seizures. Your child may need medicine daily to prevent seizures or during a seizure to stop it. Do not let your child stop taking this medicine unless directed by a healthcare provider.
- Surgery may help reduce how often your child has seizures if medicine does not help. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about surgery.
Help your child prevent a seizure:
You may not be able to prevent every seizure. The following can help you and your child manage triggers that may make a seizure start:
- Have your child take antiepileptic medicine every day at the same time. This will also help prevent medicine side effects. Set an alarm to help remind you and your child.
- Help your child manage stress. Stress can be a trigger for seizures. Exercise can help your child reduce stress. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about exercise that is safe for him or her. Illness can be a form of stress. Offer a variety of healthy foods and plenty of liquids during an illness. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about other ways to manage stress.
- Set a regular sleep schedule. A lack of sleep can trigger a seizure. Try to have your child go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Keep your child's bedroom quiet and dark. Talk to your child's healthcare provider if he or she is having trouble sleeping.
What you can do to help your child manage frontal lobe seizures:
- Keep a seizure diary. This can help you find your child's triggers and avoid them. Possible triggers include illness, lack of sleep, hormonal changes, lights, and stress. Write down the dates of your child's seizures, where he or she was, and what he or she was doing. Include how your child felt before and after the seizure.
- Record any auras your child has before a seizure. The aura may happen seconds before a seizure, or up to an hour before. Your child may feel, see, hear, or smell something. Examples include part of your child's body becoming hot. He or she may see a flash of light or hear something. He or she may have anxiety or déjà vu. If your child had an aura, include it in the seizure diary.
- Ask what safety precautions your child should take. Talk with your adolescent's healthcare provider about driving. Your adolescent may not be able to drive until he or she is seizure-free for a period of time. You will need to check the law where your adolescent lives. Also talk to your child's healthcare provider about swimming and bathing. Your child may drown or develop life-threatening heart or lung damage if he or she has a seizure in water.
- Have your child carry medical alert identification. Have your child wear medical alert jewelry or carry a card that says he or she had a seizure. Ask your child's healthcare provider where to get these items.
- Talk to school officials about the seizures. Tell your child's teachers and other school officials what to expect during and after a seizure. Your child may have trouble concentrating or remembering for a few days after a seizure. Work with your child's teachers to make sure he or she does not fall behind in school. Your child may also have behavior problems or mood swings. Help his or her teachers understand how to be patient with your child.
How others can keep your child safe during a seizure:
Give the following instructions to your child's family, friends, babysitters, school officials, and coworkers:
- Do not panic.
- Do not hold the child down or put anything in his or her mouth.
- Gently guide the child to the floor or a soft surface.
- Place the child on his or her side to help prevent him or her from swallowing saliva or vomit.
- Protect the child from injury. Remove sharp or hard objects from the area, or cushion the child's head.
- Loosen the clothing around the child's head and neck.
- Time how long the seizure lasts. Call 911 if the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or if the child has a second seizure.
- Stay with the child until the seizure ends. Let the child rest until he or she is fully awake.
- Perform CPR if the child stops breathing or you cannot feel his or her pulse.
- Do not give the child anything to eat or drink until he or she is fully awake.
Follow up with your child's neurologist or healthcare provider as directed:
Your child may need tests to check the level of antiseizure medicine in his or her blood. The neurologist may need to change or adjust this medicine. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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