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Febrile convulsions

Abstract

DIAGNOSIS - There is much confusion about the diagnosis of febrile convulsions It is important to distinguish them from idiopathic epilepsy, because the management and prognosis are different. Febrile convulsions should only be diagnosed on rigid criteria:1

  1. The fits occur only in children under five years old, and rarely in the first six months.

  2. They occur only as a result of a rise of temperature. If the child was not off colour for a few hours before the fit occurred, the fit was almost certainly not a ‘febrile convulsion’. A febrile fit usually occurs within 12 hours or less of the onset of an infection.

  3. The fits do not last more than 5 or 10 minutes.

  4. The fits are not focal.

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