Skip to Content

New-onset Seizure In Children

AMBULATORY CARE:

A seizure

means an area in your child's brain sends a burst of electrical activity. A seizure may start in one part of the brain, or both sides may be affected. The seizure may last a few seconds or longer than 5 minutes. A new-onset seizure is a seizure that happens for the first time. The cause of your child's seizure may not be known. A seizure can be triggered by medicine, a head injury, a stroke, or exposure to toxins. In children younger than 6 years, a fever can sometimes trigger a seizure. This is called a febrile seizure.

Symptoms of a seizure:

Your child may have symptoms before the seizure starts. This is called an aura. Examples include dizziness, anxiety, or flashing bright lights. He or she may have symptoms of one type of a seizure or a combination of different types:

  • A generalized seizure may affect both sides of the brain. After a generalized seizure, your child may have a headache or feel irritable. The following are different types of generalized seizures:
    • A tonic, clonic, or tonic-clonic seizure usually involves the whole body. A clonic seizure involves jerking body movements. A tonic seizure involves stiffening of the body. A tonic-clonic seizure is a combination of clonic and tonic seizures. It is also called a grand mal seizure. Your child may lose consciousness. Your child's eyes may roll up and back into his or her head. He or she may also sweat all over his or her body.
    • A myoclonic seizure involves a sudden jerk of all or part of the body.
    • An atonic seizure is usually brief and causes a sudden loss of posture. Your child may fall suddenly to the ground.
    • An absence seizure is also known as a petit mal seizure. Your child will not be aware of his or her surroundings. He or she may stare blankly into space. Your child will not pay attention to anything happening around him or her. Your child's eyes may flutter or blink repeatedly, and he or she may smack his or her lips. Your child may have several absence seizures throughout a day.
    • An atypical absence seizure looks like an absence seizure, but with repetitive behaviors. Examples include eye opening and closing, eyes rolling outward or inward, and body stiffening.
  • A partial seizure may affect one part of the brain. The symptoms may depend on where in the brain the abnormal activity is happening. It may be simple or complex. A simple partial seizure may not cause your child to be less awake or alert. A complex partial seizure may cause your child to be less awake or alert. Both types may cause jerky muscle movements, confusion, hallucinations, sweating, or repetitive behaviors.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child's seizure lasts more than 5 minutes.
  • Your child has a second seizure within 24 hours of the first.
  • Your child stops breathing, turns blue, or you cannot feel his or her pulse.
  • Your child cannot be woken after the seizure.
  • Your child has more than 1 seizure before he or she is fully awake or aware.
  • Your child has a seizure in the water, such as a swimming pool or hot tub.

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 a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Treatment:

may depend on the cause of your child's seizure. Your child may need any of the following:

  • Antiepileptic medicine may be given to control or prevent another seizure.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

What you can do to help your child manage or prevent a seizure:

  • Talk to your child about the seizure. Your child may be frightened or confused after a seizure. Depending on your child's age, it might be helpful to explain the seizure. If your child has epilepsy, help your child understand how epilepsy will affect him or her. Help your child learn safety precautions to take. Ask your child about any auras he or she had before the seizure. Help him or her learn to recognize an aura and get to a safe place before the seizure starts.
  • Help your child manage stress. Stress can trigger a seizure. Exercise can help your child reduce stress. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about exercise that is safe for your child. Illness can be a form of stress. Offer your child a variety of healthy foods and plenty of liquids during an illness.
  • 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.
  • 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 a seizure happens in water.
  • Tell your child's friends, family members, and coworkers that he or she had a seizure. Give them written instructions to follow if your child has another seizure.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider or neurologist as directed:

Your child may need more tests to find the cause of his or her seizure. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. 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 Truven Health Analytics.

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.

Hide