Seizures in Children Treatment

Self-Care at Home

 

Your initial efforts should be directed first at protecting the child from additionally injuring himself or herself.

  • Help the child to lie down on his side, preferably in a flat, non-crowded area. This will help prevent the child from inhaling any possible vomit.
  • Remove glasses or other harmful objects in the area.
  • Do not try to put anything in the child's mouth to try to stop the seizure; you may injure the child or yourself.
  • Immediately check to see if the child is breathing, and continue observing the child for breathing both during and after the seizure. Call 911 immediately to obtain medical assistance if the child is not breathing or looks blue at any time.
  • If your child is not breathing within 1 minute after the seizure stops start mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing (CPR). Do not try to do rescue breathing for the child during a convulsive seizure, because you may injure the child or yourself.
  • After the seizure ends, place the child on one side and stay with the child until he or she is fully awake.
  • If the child has a fever, acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) may be given rectally.
  • Do not try to give food, liquid, or medications by mouth to a child who has just had a seizure. Unless the child is fully awake and alert, there is a danger of the child inhaling any food, medication or liquid.
  • Children with known epilepsy (a history of seizures) should also be prevented from further injury by moving away solid objects in the area of the child.
  • If the child is in a boat or near the water he or she should always have a life jacket on. You should also restrain the child to prevent drowning.
  • If you have discussed use of rectal medication (for example, Valium) with your child's doctor, give the child the correct dose as directed.
  • Call 911 if you ever need to administer rectal medication to stop the seizure.

Medical Treatment

 

Treatment of children with seizures is different than treatment for adults. Unless a specific cause is found, most children with first-time seizures will not be placed on medications.

  • Important reasons for not starting medications:
    • During the first visit, many doctors cannot be sure if the event was a seizure or something else.
    • Many seizure medications have side effects including damage to your child's liver or teeth.
    • Many children will have only one, or very few, seizures in their lifetime.

 

  • If medications are started:
    • The doctor will follow the drug levels, which require frequent blood tests, and will watch closely for side effects. Often, it takes weeks to months to adjust the medications, and sometimes more than one medicine is needed.
    • If your child has continuous seizures (status epilepticus), he or she will be treated very aggressively with IV antiseizure medications, admitted to the intensive care unit, and possibly be placed on a breathing machine.