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Febrile Seizures

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Febrile Seizures

(Fever Seizures)


A febrile seizure is a seizure in a baby or young child with a fever over 100.4° F (38° C). These seizures are common and usually harmless.


A high fever is thought to trigger the seizure. The fever is most often caused by an infection. Rarely, some seizures may be caused by fever after routine vaccines.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in children who are 6 months to 3 years old. The risk may last until age 5. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Family history of febrile seizures
  • Developmental delay problems
  • Having a viral infection
  • A recent vaccine


A febrile seizure often lasts a few seconds up to 15 minutes. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Jerking or stiffening muscles
  • Eye rolling
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Urinating (peeing) or passing stools (poop)
  • Vomiting


The doctor will ask about the child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. More tests may be done to find the cause of the fever.

MRI Scan.

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Febrile seizures usually stop as children get older.

A simple seizure is usually not treated. Medicines may be given to treat the underlying cause, such as:

  • Antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection
  • Medicine to lower the fever

A rectal valium gel may be used in children who have long or repeat seizures.


There are no guidelines to prevent febrile seizures.





  • Febrile seizure. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/febrile-seizure.
  • Febrile seizures fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/febrile-seizures#3111.
  • Febrile seizures. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/condition/febrile-seizures.
  • Hashimoto R, Suto M, et al. Use of antipyretics for preventing febrile seizure recurrence in children: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Pediatr. 2021;180(4):987-997.


  • Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.