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Children's Vaccines Health Center

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4-in-1 Vaccine Ups Child Seizure Risk

Measles-Mumps-Rubella-Chickenpox Vaccine Doubles Febrile Seizure Risk

Febrile Seizures: What to Do continued...

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, "The child may look strange for a few moments, then stiffen, twitch, and roll his eyes. He will be unresponsive for a short time, his breathing will be disturbed, and his skin may appear a little darker than usual."

Most of these seizures are over in under a minute, although rare cases may last for up to 15 minutes. Febrile seizures are rare in children younger than age 6 months or older than 3 years.

"The highest incidence is between 14 and 18 months of age," Iksander says. "That's right at the time we give them MMR and varicella vaccinations."

Here's what to do if your child has a febrile seizure, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:

  • Stay calm. Watch the child carefully.
  • Do not try to hold or restrain the child.
  • Place the child on his or her side or stomach in order to prevent choking.
  • If possible, gently remove any object the child may have in his or her mouth.
  • Never put anything in the mouth of a child having a convulsion, as such objects can break and block the airway.
  • If the seizure lasts more than 10 minutes, take the child to the nearest medical facility.
  • As soon as the seizure is over, call the child's pediatrician. The seizure is unlikely to have caused any harm, but it's important to rule out or treat dangerous infections that may have caused the fever.

Febrile seizures are not a sign that a child is developing epilepsy. It is very rare for children who have febrile seizures to suffer any lasting physical or mental harm. But febrile seizures are significant health events that require medical attention.

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