Febrile convulsions are caused by a rapid increase in the body temperature of young children. It can affect children between the ages of six months and five years.
An attack will often begin with the child losing consciousness, followed by the body, arms and legs stiffening. The child’s head will be thrown backwards as the arms and legs begin to jerk and the skin goes pale (sometimes briefly blue). An attack should end after a few minutes.
If your child suffers an attack, turn their head to one side to prevent choking. Do not intervene in any other way. Keep the child in the recovery position when the fit stops. Call an ambulance if the fit is prolonged or the child has multiple fits in rapid succession.
Contact your GP for medical advice after your child has a febrile convulsion as they may need to be admitted to hospital.
Although febrile convulsions are frightening, they rarely result in any permanent injuries.
Fever-reducing medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help lower body temperature but need to be administered at regular intervals to prevent your child’s temperature from rising rapidly again.