- Epilepsy Slideshow
- Brain Disorders Image Collection
- Take the Epilepsy (Seizure Disorder) Quiz
- Epilepsy and Seizures FAQs
- Patient Comments: Seizure (Epilepsy) - Effective Treatments
- Patient Comments: Seizure (Epilepsy) - Share Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Seizure (Epilepsy) - Lifestyle
- Find a local Neurologist in your town
- Epilepsy Facts*
- What is epilepsy?
- What causes epilepsy?
- What are the different kinds of seizures?
- Focal seizures
- Generalized seizures
- What are the different kinds of epilepsy?
- When are seizures not epilepsy?
- First seizures
- Febrile seizures
- Nonepileptic events
- How is epilepsy diagnosed?
- Can epilepsy be prevented?
- How can epilepsy be treated?
- How does epilepsy affect daily life?
- Are there special risks associated with epilepsy?
- What research is being done on epilepsy?
- How can I help research on epilepsy?
- What to do if you see someone having a seizure
- Where can I get more information?
Quick GuideEpilepsy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Sometimes a child will have a seizure during the course of an illness with a high fever. These seizures are called febrile seizures (febrile is derived from the Latin word for "fever") and can be very alarming to the parents and other caregivers. In the past, doctors usually prescribed a course of anticonvulsant drugs following a febrile seizure in the hope of preventing epilepsy. However, most children who have a febrile seizure do not develop epilepsy, and long-term use of anticonvulsant drugs in children may damage the developing brain or cause other detrimental side effects. Experts at a 1980 consensus conference coordinated by the National Institutes of Health concluded that preventive treatment after a febrile seizure is generally not warranted unless certain other conditions are present: a family history of epilepsy, signs of nervous system impairment prior to the seizure, or a relatively prolonged or complicated seizure. The risk of subsequent non-febrile seizures is only 2 to 3 percent unless one of these factors is present.
Researchers have now identified several different genes that influence the risk of febrile seizures in certain families. Studying these genes may lead to new understanding of how febrile seizures occur and perhaps point to ways of preventing them.