Febrile seizures are convulsions that can happen during a fever (febrile means "feverish").
While they can be frightening, febrile seizures usually end without treatment and don't cause any other health problems.
Febrile seizures affect kids 6 months to 5 years old, and are most common in toddlers 12-18 months old. The seizures usually last for a few minutes and are accompanied by a fever above 100.4ºF (38ºC).
During a febrile seizure, a child's whole body may convulse, shake, and twitch; eyes may roll; and he or she may moan or become unconscious. This type of seizure is usually over in a few minutes, but in rare cases can last up to 15 minutes.
Febrile seizures stop on their own, while the fever continues until it is treated. Some kids might feel sleepy afterward; others feel no lingering effects. When the seizure is over, call your doctor for an evaluation to determine the cause of the fever.
Febrile seizures can be scary to witness but are fairly common, are not usually a symptom of serious illness, and in most cases don't lead to other health problems. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your doctor.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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