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Sometimes, seizures are triggered by a disease or injury, but for most children, there is no detectable cause. Sometimes other conditions, such as fainting or stroke, can look like seizures. may have a wide variety of symptoms depending on their type of seizures.
Some seizures are easy to recognize through s like shaking or temporarily losing consciousness. Other seizures are so mild that you might not even recognize them as seizures: They might involve only a visual hallucination, for example, or a moment of very strong emotions. In some cases, seizures have no outward s at all. Sometimes these symptoms can have a cause other than seizures. Further testing will help doctors confirm suspected seizures or find another condition that is causing the symptoms.
In some cases, seizures are associated with long-term neurological conditions and problems with learning and behavior. During the seizure itself, children may fall or get injured. Gently ease the child to the floor if sitting or standing, turn them on their side in case of vomiting and remove any surrounding hard objects.
Seizures may leave your child exhausted. Unfortunately, just as troubling as the physical complications, seizures can also cause embarrassment and social isolation. Before a focal seizure, your child may experience an aura — a strange feeling that involves changes in hearing, vision, or sense of smell.
Focal seizures may last less than a minute and have different symptoms depending on which area of the brain is involved. They usually affect the muscles, causing a variety of abnormal movements that are limited to one muscle group, such as the fingers or the larger muscles in the arms and legs. Your child may experience sweating or nausea or become pale but will not lose consciousness. Focal seizures may be associated with altered consciousness. Your child can experience a variety of behaviors, such as gagging, lip smacking, running, screaming, crying, or laughing.
Generalized seizures involve both sides of the brain. Children lose consciousness and have a postictal period a recovery phase after the seizure. The types of generalized seizures include:. Myoclonic seizures involve sudden jerking in a group of muscles. These seizures tend to occur in clusters, happening several times a day or for several days in a row. Infantile spasms are a rare type of seizure disorder that occurs in the first year of life.
They usually involve brief periods of movement in the neck, trunk, or legs, often when is waking up or trying to go to sleep. They usually last only a few seconds, but infants may have hundreds of these seizures a day. This can be a serious problem and can be associated with long-term complications. Spasms may also occur throughout life and can also cause drop attacks.
Status epilepticus is a situation in which seizures develop into a prolonged seizure of 30 minutes or longer duration. This condition is a medical emergency and may require hospitalization. Febrile seizures are triggered by fever and usually happen in children between 6 months and 5 years of age. They involve muscle contractions — either mild such as stiffening of the limbs or severe convulsions. Febrile seizures are fairly common, affect about 2 to 5 percent of children in the U. Seizures can take a wide variety of forms, depending in part on what part of the brain has the abnormal electrical activity.
Many different diseases and injuries can cause children to have seizures. These include:. Treatments for seizures have expanded greatly in recent years and include a variety of medications, specialized diets, or, in serious cases, a variety of brain surgeries. At Boston Children's Hospital, we care for children who have epilepsy or who have experienced seizures through the Epilepsy Center , Fetal-Neonatal Neurology Program , and many other programs that are dedicated to caring for children with disorders that may cause seizures.
We typically have several clinical trials going on at any time. Our doctors are:. For Patients. Contact the Department of Neurology Fax: Schedule An Appointment:. Monday-Friday ampm. Saturday ampm. Seizures in Children. What are seizures? Meet Kristen When medication failed to treat her seizures, Kristen decided to undergo surgery for epilepsy. . What are the symptoms of a seizure?
Some s that your child may be experiencing seizures include: staring tremors, convulsions, or jerking movements in the arms and legs stiffening of the body loss of consciousness breathing problems loss of bowel or bladder control falling suddenly for no apparent reason not responding to noise or words for short periods of time appearing confused or in a haze extreme sleepiness and irritability when waking up in the morning head nodding periods of rapid eye blinking and staring vomiting changes in vision, speech, or both Sometimes these symptoms can have a cause other than seizures.
What are the different types of seizures? Generalized seizures Generalized seizures involve both sides of the brain. The types of generalized seizures include: Absence seizures also called petit mal seizures involve episodes of staring and an altered state of consciousness. They usually last no longer than 30 seconds but can happen several times a day. Afterward, your child may not recall the seizure and may act as if nothing happened. Absence seizures almost always start between ages 4 and 12 and are sometimes mistaken for a learning or behavioral problem.
Atonic seizures involve a sudden loss of muscle tone and may cause drop attacks: Your child may fall from a standing position or suddenly drop their head. During the seizure, your child is limp and unresponsive. Tonic seizures involve a sudden stiffening of parts of the body or the entire body. Brief tonic seizures may also cause drop attacks. Myoclonic seizures Myoclonic seizures involve sudden jerking in a group of muscles.
Infantile spasms Infantile spasms are a rare type of seizure disorder that occurs in the first year of life. Status epilepticus Status epilepticus is a situation in which seizures develop into a prolonged seizure of 30 minutes or longer duration. Febrile seizures Febrile seizures are triggered by fever and usually happen in children between 6 months and 5 years of age.
Related Conditions and Treatments. The commitment and compassion with which we care for all children and families is matched only by the pioneering spirit of discovery and innovation that drives us to think differently, to find answers, and to build a better tomorrow for children everywhere. Kevin B. Churchwell, President and CEO. Connect with Boston Children's Hospital. How can we help?Looking for some head this weekend
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