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Children's Health

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What To Do If Your Child Has a Seizure


If there is a history of seizures in the family, they say, your child's doctor needs to know. But other things you may not think of could also be important. Has your child been sick recently, or been around other sick children in the family, day-care center, neighborhood, or school? Are there any medicines or poisons the child may have gotten into? Above all, parents should fully explain the events surrounding the seizure to help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

Other diagnostic tools may also be used, depending on what the physician discovers or believes is most appropriate to treat the child, the QSS reports. Sometimes, a spinal tap, in which fluid is drawn from the spine, may be required to rule out infections. Blood tests may be ordered to make sure the child isn't diabetic. If necessary, a brain scan, usually using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be done to rule out any brain abnormalities.

The main thing to remember, experts say, is that while a seizure is frightening and traumatic, more than likely it will be a one-time occurrence in your child's life.

Sharp outlines some steps you should take if your child has a seizure:

  • Get the child away from anything that could cause harm -- out of the tub, away from stoves or heaters, away from tables and shelves where items may fall off and cause an injury.
  • Roll the child on his or her side, as a seizure victim may vomit and could choke if lying on his or her back.
  • If you can, tilt the child's chin forward, CPR-style, to help open the breathing passage.
  • Do not put anything in the child's mouth. A tongue cannot be swallowed; this is a myth. If you put your hand in the child's mouth, you may end up being bitten, because a seizure victim will often clamp down uncontrollably. A spoon or other object thrust into the child's mouth will not help breathing, but may result in injury to the mouth and teeth.

"Once the convulsive component [of the seizure] is over and the child then is sleepy, groggy, or not very responsive, the emergency component is essentially over," Sharp tells WebMD. The child should be taken calmly, at normal driving speed, to the emergency room for evaluation and care.

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