Although febrile seizures may cause great fear and concern for parents, most febrile seizures produce no lasting effects. Simple febrile seizures don't cause brain damage, mental retardation or learning disabilities, and they don't mean your child has a more serious underlying disorder.
Febrile seizures also aren't an indication of epilepsy, a tendency to have recurrent seizures caused by abnormal electrical signals in the brain. The odds that your child will develop epilepsy after a febrile seizure are small, approximately 1 percent.
Recurrent febrile seizures
The most common complication of febrile seizures is the possibility of more febrile seizures. About a third of children who have a febrile seizure will have another one with a subsequent fever.
The risk of recurrence is higher if:
Jan. 24, 2012
- Your child had a low fever at the time of the first febrile seizure.
- The period between the start of the fever and the seizure was short.
- Your child has frequent fevers.
- An immediate family member has a history of febrile seizures.
- Your child was younger than 15 months old at the time of the first febrile seizure.
- Febrile seizures fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/febrile_seizures/detail_febrile_seizures.htm. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- What do I do if my child has a febrile seizure? American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.aap.org/publiced/BR_FebrileSeizures.htm. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Clinical practice guideline — Febrile seizures: Guideline for the neurodiagnostic evaluation of the child with a simple febrile seizure. Pediatrics. 2011;127:389.
- Febrile seizures. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/neurologic_disorders_in_children/febrile_seizures.html. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Bernard TJ, et al. Neurologic & muscular disorders. In: Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6585048. Accessed Nov. 13, 2011.
- Cendes F, et al. Vaccinations and febrile seizures. Epilepsia. 2011;52(suppl):23.
- Sullivan JE, et al. Fever and antipyretic use in children. Pediatrics. 2011;127:580.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 10, 2011.
- Nickels KC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 21, 2011.