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Today I want to talk to you about something that we experienced for the first time back in April. Our beautiful daughter Daisy, who is now 16 months old, suffered her first febrile convulsion. I want to share our experience of Daisy suffering a febrile convulsion and talk about how we dealt with it.
What is a febrile convulsion?
A febrile convulsion is a fit that can occur when a child is suffering from a high temperature. They are quite common, and fortunately I had read about them before Daisy suffered her first one. This meant that I was already prepared with what to do and felt as in control of the situation as it is possible to be.
Typically a febrile convulsion will last for under 5 minutes, Daisy’s febrile convulsion lasted for almost 10 minutes. I know this as I was on the phone to 999 awaiting the ambulance for almost 9 minutes. As I had acted fast I had rang 999 in under a minute.
How was the febrile convulsion for Daisy
For Daisy the first sign was that her breathing was laboured. We were about to strap her into the car seat at the time. I mentioned to my husband Tom, and we removed her from the car, then the fitting properly started. Her arms and legs were jerking and she gradually lost consciousness. Around 2 minutes into the convulsion I checked her temperature and it was 103F. Around 4 minutes into the febrile convulsion this was down to 101F. A fever for a child Daisy’s age is 100.4F (38C) or above. This was obviously really scary for us but we kept calm and my husband is a qualified first aider.
Daisy took her first trip in an ambulance that day. They checked her blood sugar, blood pressure, carried out an ECG, and a number of other observations. As the fitting had stopped by then they were not overly concerned. However, as we travelled in the ambulance Daisy was still not conscious until we arrived (3-5 minute drive). This was scary to see as her parent as she was very disorientated when she woke up. However, within just one hour she was back to her old self and desperate for a milk! What a relief!
Why am I talking to you about febrile convulsions?
I’m not posting to scare you with all the facts and statistics but I wanted to write this post to tell you about febrile convulsions. As a parent, watching your child have a febrile convulsion is terrifying. By knowing in advance, and knowing when to call 999, you’ll be able to help you child recover quicker and remain healthy. The NHS Choices website has a section dedicated to febrile convulsions. Please do have a read.
How is Daisy now?
Daisy recovered quickly from her febrile convulsion, like the vast majority of children. Almost all will recover the same day. That night she was exhausted, and I watched her sleep for hours. She didn’t suffer any long-term effects though and now she has been diagnosed with FPIES it is possible she may suffer again in the future. Daisy’s febrile convulsion could have been the result of her eating something she had a reaction to, it is hard for us to know. We have our fingers crossed another one won’t occur to confirm either way!
How to deal with a febrile convulsion as it occurs
Place your child in the recovery position.
Take your child to the closest hospital or call 999 if the seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, or this is the first time they have had a febrile convulsion.
Also, call 999 or take them to your nearest hospital if the febrile convulsion could be caused by meningitis, or another serious illness.
We dialled 999 as Daisy lost consciousness, and I knew from her high temperature it was likely to be a febrile convulsion. I told the 999 operator I thought so before he confirmed that was the likely cause.
My number 1 piece of advice I could give you would be to read the NHS article above. Also, keep a *thermometer in your changing bag. We keep one at home in our medicine cabinet and one in our changing bag. This meant that I could track her temperature, and know it was coming down. This was useful information for the 999 operator.
For a few weeks afterwards I was quite nervous about going out. About Daisy’s temperature. About everything really. However, I’m back to normal now and Daisy is doing fine. Suffering a febrile convulsion is really common, I know lots of people whose babies have had at least one. This is why I want to let people know so they can read up on them. I’d learned about them properly just a few days before and this allowed me to stay calm as we waited for the ambulance.