Recognition and management of febrile convulsion in children
Siba Prosad Paul Specialty trainee in paediatrics, year 8, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol, England
Emily Natasha Kirkham Fourth-year medical student, University of Bristol, Bristol, England
Bethany Shirt Senior staff nurse, paediatric emergency department, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Bristol, England
Febrile convulsion is characterised by convulsion associated with fever in an infant or child aged between six months and six years. The febrile illness causing the convulsion should not be secondary to an intracranial infection (meningitis or encephalitis) or acute electrolyte imbalance. Most cases of febrile convulsion are short lived and self-terminating. However, a few cases of prolonged febrile convulsion may need anticonvulsant medication to stop the seizure. Management is mainly symptomatic, although anticonvulsants may have a role in a small number of children with complex or recurrent febrile convulsion. Referral to paediatric neurologists may be necessary in cases of complex or recurrent febrile convulsion, or in those where a pre-existing neurological disorder exists. One third of children will develop a further febrile convulsion during subsequent febrile illness. Nurses have a vital role in managing children with febrile convulsion, educating parents about the condition and dispelling myths. This article outlines the presentation, management, investigations and prognosis for febrile convulsion, indicating how nurses working in different clinical areas can help to manage this common childhood condition.
Nursing Standard. 29, 52, 36-43. doi: 10.7748/ns.29.52.36.e9927Correspondence
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Received: 20 January 2015
Accepted: 07 March 2015