Health Watch: Seizures in children

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Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 3:24 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Seizures, especially in children, are dangerous but with knowledge and treatment, most can be managed.

“Seizures come in a variety of types,” Dr. Cara Hamilton, Black Hills Pediatrics, said. “They range from the full-body tonic-clonic unresponsive shaking episodes that last from several minutes up until something that’s much more subtle, including an eye twitch or a blank stare for a second or two. Seizures can end up being pretty dangerous but luckily for kids they usually aren’t that bad, especially if we pick them up early and we get proper treatment initiated.

“One of the scariest seizures is one of the most benign seizures that exist. It occurs in an infant or toddler who might be sick with a virus and getting fevers,” Hamilton added. “And because that rapid increase in temperature can lead to a Febrile seizure. This seizure looks like that full-body shaking that I was mentioning earlier, and an unresponsive baby may turn a little bit of a blue shade and last for up to 15 minutes. Pretty much every first-time Febrile seizure ends up with an EMS call and a visit to the emergency department. Typically, it is usually just observation for a few hours and making sure the child coming around does not need a full workup.

“However, that tonic–clonic seizure that is not associated with a fever deserves an MRI, an EEG, and probably a hospital stay. For a child with a subtle seizure, these can take a while to pick up on. Sometimes these are just kids that you have choked up to be a little spacey, but when it comes down to it what you might notice is a zoning-out episode where the child is unresponsive for a matter of a few seconds, then they will jump right back into that part of the conversation that they left this is something noted, and these children usually need an EEG, an MRI, and further workup depending on what is going on. It is something that you will need to talk to their doctor about, as this could represent absent epilepsy.

“Of course, there are a few others that I have not mentioned but these are the most typical. Make sure that you are talking with your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns about them having seizures,” Hamilton said.