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New-onset Seizure In Children


What is a new-onset seizure?

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.

What are the 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.

What causes a seizure?

The cause of your child's seizure may not be known. A seizure may be caused by any of the following:

  • A head injury or a brain tumor
  • Certain medicines such as general anesthetics
  • A stroke
  • Exposure to alcohol, drugs, or toxins
  • A fever or infection
  • An electrolyte imbalance or low blood sugar
  • Birth defects that affect the brain or nervous system

How is a seizure diagnosed?

Tell your child's healthcare provider what happened during his seizure, how long it lasted, and how he acted after it was done. Also tell him about any family history of seizures and any recent illness or trauma your child has had. He will examine your child and check his neuro signs. Neuro signs show healthcare providers how well your child's brain is working. If his neuro checks are abnormal, he may need more tests.

How is a seizure treated?

Treatment may depend on the cause of your child's seizure. Medicine may be given to control or prevent a seizure. Medicine may also be given to treat the cause of a seizure such as antibiotics for infection.

How can I keep my child safe?

Your child may need to follow these safety measures for up to 12 months after his seizure:

  • 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 bunk bed.
  • Do not let your child climb trees or rocks.
  • 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 baby-sitters that he has had a seizure. Give them written instructions to follow if he has another seizure.

What should I do if my 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.

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.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • 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.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

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

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

© 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.