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Temporal Lobe Seizures in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A seizure is an abnormal burst of electrical activity in your child's brain. A temporal lobe seizure starts in the temporal lobe of the brain. One temporal lobe is on each side of the brain, near the temples. This part of the brain controls memory, emotions, and language processing. A temporal lobe seizure is called a focal seizure because it starts in one part of your child's brain. The seizure usually lasts 60 to 90 seconds. 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.
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.
Return to the emergency department 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 temporal 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.
- Antiepileptic medicine may control or prevent another seizure. Do not stop taking this medicine without direction from a healthcare provider. Another person may need to give you rescue medicine to stop a seizure at home. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about rescue medicine.
- 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.
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 temporal 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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