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Temporal Lobe Seizures in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a temporal lobe seizure?

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.

What increases my child's risk for temporal lobe seizures?

What are the signs and symptoms of a temporal lobe seizure?

How is a temporal lobe seizure diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's health conditions and medicines. If your child is old enough, have him or her describe how he or she felt before and after the seizure. Include details about the side of your child's body that seemed more affected. Tell the provider how close together the seizures were if your child had more than one. Your healthcare provider will ask for a detailed description of each seizure. If you did not see the seizure, try to bring someone with you who did. Nose wiping is common after a temporal lobe seizure. Your child's provider may ask which hand your child used to wipe his or her nose. That hand will usually be on the opposite side from where the seizure started. Depending on your child's age, he or she may also need any of the following:

How is a temporal lobe seizure treated?

The goal of treatment is to try to stop your child's seizures completely. Your child may need any of the following:

What can I do to help my 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:

What can I do to help my child manage temporal lobe seizures?

How can others keep my child safe during a seizure?

Give the following instructions to your child's family, friends, babysitters, school officials, and coworkers:

What do I need to know about stopping my child's medicine?

Your child's healthcare provider can help you understand and make decisions about antiseizure medicines. Your child will need to have no seizures for a period of time, such as 18 to 24 months. Then you and the provider can decide if your child should continue taking the medicine. The provider will lower your child's dose over a certain period of time. Seizures might happen again while your child stops taking the medicine, or after he or she stops. Rarely, these seizures no longer respond to medicines. Tests such as an EEG may be useful in helping you and your child's provider make medicine decisions.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

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 healthcare providers 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.