Know Convulsions (Seizure Attack) Causes, Symptoms & Tips to Diagnose
Created by Tasneem Sariya Updated on Apr 04, 2020
It can be pretty disturbing as a parent to watch your toddler writhe in a convulsion. However, in most cases the convulsions or seizure attacks do not last for more than a few seconds to a minute. They are definitely not fatal and very usually do not leave a forever lasting impact on the child.
What Is A Seizure Or Convulsion?
A seizure attack happens when the brain functions abnormally or rather when there is a sudden unusual electrical behavior amongst the neurons within the brain.
Causes Of Convulsions
The causes of paroxysm in kids are many, like -
High Fever –One of the commonest reasons, the convulsions that occur due to high fever are termed as ‘febrile convulsions’. It is estimated that about 2-4% of children between 6 months to 5 years of age, experience febrile convulsions, and are likely to experience it again
Infections –Meningitis, ear infections or developmental problems like cerebral palsy can also cause convulsions
Head Injury –Head injuries that may lead to scarring of brain tissues and so on can be reasons for a seizure attack
In the Family –A child is likely to have a convulsion attack if there is history of similar attacks in the family
Epilepsy –The disease is characterized by seizures and a convulsion could be a symptom of the disease
Convulsion Symptoms In Infants
The signs and symptoms of convulsion attacks are manifested in different ways. These include,
- Stiffening of the body
- Sudden jerking movements of the body
- Rolling of the eyes
- An absence of attention or awareness, such as, the child just staring a wall. Such a kind of convulsion is called 'absence seizure' or 'petit mal', where the symptoms can be barely noticeable
Report suggests that convulsions in babies are not uncommon. Febrile convulsion, for example, is common between the ages of 12 to 18 months, whereas, most convulsions happen for children below the age of 3.
Convulsions vs. Seizures
Though convulsions and seizures are used interchangeably, there is in fact a difference between the two. A seizure is the brain’s abnormal activity of the electrical impulse; whereas, a convulsion is a distinct symptom of a seizure.
Different Types Of Convulsions
- Partial or focal seizure when only a part of the brain is affected
- Generalized seizure when both the left and right hemisphere of the brain is affected. Sub types include, petit mal, convulsive seizures, atonic seizures, clonic seizures, tonic seizure and myoclonic seizure
- Non Epileptic seizures are convulsions that do not occur because of epilepsy
- Infantile spams are a type of epilepsy seizures that do not fall under the above categories
Tips To Diagnose Attack
If your child has had an attack, the doctor will want to know details about your pregnancy and delivery, if the child has had high fever or injuries, if there have been any cases of seizures in the family and so on. It is best to describe the attack accurately and follow the doctor’s instructions in conducting blood tests, ECG or a CAT scan too.
Though it is difficult to prevent a seizure attack, parents would want to know on how to cure convulsions. It is important to identify the cause of the convulsion which will help in its cure. If the convulsions occur due to a certain medication or infections, measures can be taken to try and get rid of them. However, very often the causes may not be known, and the best you can do while the child is having an attack is placing him sideways and clear the area around. Loosen the clothing around the neck and head, and do not put anything inside the child’s mouth. Do not try to stop or restrain the child.
Convulsions though looks dreadful, may not always mean a serious threat. However, if they are repetitive and often, then immediate attention should be sought after.
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