Convulsions in Children: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment.

A convulsion, also known as a seizure, is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain that causes temporary changes in body movement, sensation, awareness, or behavior. While convulsions can occur at any age, they are more common in children, especially during the first few years of life.

Symptoms of convulsions in children can vary depending on the type and severity of the seizure, but some common ones include:

  • Jerking movements of the arms and legs: These can be rhythmic or clonic (shaking) or tonic (stiffening).
  • Loss of consciousness: The child may appear dazed or completely unresponsive.
  • Staring: The child may stare blankly for a few seconds or minutes.
  • Stiffening of the body: The child’s muscles may become rigid and difficult to move.
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth: This is a common symptom, but not always present.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control: This can happen in more severe seizures.
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing: This can occur if the seizure affects the muscles that control breathing.

Causes of convulsions in children are also diverse, but some of the most common include:

  • Fever: Febrile seizures are the most common type of seizure in children, typically occurring between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. They are usually caused by a high fever, often from an infection like the flu or ear infection.
  • Infections: Other infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis, can also cause convulsions.
  • Head injuries: A bump or blow to the head can disrupt the electrical activity in the brain and lead to a seizure.
  • Neurological conditions: Epilepsy, a chronic disorder that causes recurrent seizures, can start in childhood. Other neurological conditions, such as brain tumors or strokes, can also cause convulsions.
  • Metabolic imbalances: Electrolyte imbalances, low blood sugar, or high blood pressure can all disrupt brain function and lead to seizures.
  • Toxins: Exposure to certain toxins, such as lead or pesticides, can cause convulsions.

The treatment for convulsions in children will depend on the underlying cause. For most febrile seizures, no treatment is necessary. The seizure will usually stop on its own within a few minutes, Most convulsions are brief and do not cause lasting harm. However, it is important to take your child to the hospital if:

  • The seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes
  • The child has multiple seizures in a row
  • The child is injured during the seizure
  • The child has trouble breathing after the seizure
  • The child is not awake or alert after the seizure

Here are some additional things to do when your child is convulsing:

  • Protect your child from harm by moving them away from any objects that could injure them. Ensure  the surrounding is safe, remove all hot substances and electrical appliances from the area.
  • Do not try to restrain your child.
  • Remove any tight clothing on their body and neck region.
  • Make your child lie flat on his/her back and turn their head to the left.

Things you must never do:

  • Avoid putting anything (spoon, finger, food or medicine) in the child’s mouth while they are convulsing because it can lead to choking and injury.
  • Do not apply anything on the child’s body. No ointment, kerosene, hot knife or fire should be placed on the child’s body. THE CONVULSION WILL STOP ON ITS OWN.
  • Do not hit or shake your child while they are having a seizure.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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