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New-onset Seizure In Children


A seizure

is an episode of abnormal brain activity. A seizure can cause jerky muscle movements, loss of consciousness, or confusion. 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 alcohol or other 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 such as dizziness, anxiety, or flashing bright lights. Your child's symptoms during the seizure may depend on the type of seizure he has. He may have symptoms of 1 type of seizure or a combination:

  • A generalized seizure may affect both sides of the brain. After your child has a generalized seizure he may have a headache or be irritable. The following are different types of generalized seizures:
    • A tonic, clonic, or tonic-clonic seizure usually involves the whole body. During a clonic seizure the entire body may make jerking movements. During a tonic seizure the body may stiffen. A tonic-clonic seizure is a combination of clonic and tonic seizures. It is also called a grand mal seizure. During any of these types of seizures, your child may lose consciousness, his eyes may roll up and back into his head, and he may sweat all over his 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 may stare blankly into space, and he will not pay attention to anything happening around him. His eyes may flutter or blink repeatedly, and he may smack his lips. He may have several absence seizures throughout a day. An absence seizure usually affects children less than 6 years of age.
    • An atypical absence seizure looks like an absence seizure but with repetitive behaviors such as lip smacking or picking at clothing. Your child's body may stiffen and his eyes may roll inward or outward.
  • 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 or may not cause a change in how awake or alert your child is. A complex partial seizure may cause your child to be less awake or alert. Both types of partial seizures may cause jerky muscle movements, confusion, hallucinations, sweating, or repetitive behaviors.

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 more 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.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

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


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

  • Seizure 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. Taking too much acetaminophen can hurt your child's liver. Read labels so that you know the active ingredients in each medicine that your child takes. Talk to your child's healthcare provider before giving your child more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen. Ask your child's healthcare provider before giving him over-the-counter medicine if he is also taking pain medicine prescribed (ordered) for him.
  • 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 to do if your child has another 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.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • Place your child on his side to help prevent him from swallowing saliva or vomit.
    First Aid: Convulsions
  • 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.

Keep your child safe:

Your child may need to follow these safety measures for up to 12 months after his seizure. Ask for more information.

  • Your child must take showers instead of baths.
  • Your child must wear a helmet when he rides a bike, scooter, or skateboard.
  • Do not let your child sleep on the top of a bunkbed.
  • Do not let your child climb trees, rocks, or mountains.
  • Do not let your child lock his bedroom or bathroom door.
  • Do not let your child swim without an adult who is informed about his condition.
  • Tell your child's teachers and babysitters that he had a seizure. Give them written instructions to follow if he has another seizure.

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

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

© 2016 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.