Last week, Cooper had a febrile seizure. Until Cooper had a seizure, I'd never heard of febrile seizures. We had been out to dinner and Coop felt a little warm, but otherwise seemed fine. He was laughing and playing with he cousin. When we got home, I noticed he seemed really hot and gave him some ibuprofen. He continued playing and then 15 minutes later he started seizing. At first we thought he was just being silly and then we realized he was having a seizure. Mike went to move him from the the couch to the floor and he started to turn blue since he wasn't breathing. I called 911 and Mike helped Cooper breathe.
I have never been so scared in my life. As I waited for the paramedics to come I couldn't look at Cooper. I had no idea if he was going to survive and I don't want to see him die. I know, it sounds so dramatic. But in that moment, I was terrified.
Cooper's seizure lasted less than a minute, but it felt like forever. Once the seizure itself stopped, he was completely out of it, moaning and not responding to us. The paramedics took his temperature and it was 102.8. His fever basically shot up, and the spike in temp caused the seizure. I had no idea something like this could happen. But after we spent a night in the emergency room, complete with a ride in an ambulance, we found out just how common febrile seizures are.
- Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and more than one-third of these children will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them.
- Febrile seizures usually occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers.
- Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or after 3 years of age.
- The older a child is when the first febrile seizure occurs, the less likely that child is to have more.
- A few factors appear to boost a child's risk of having recurrent febrile seizures, including young age (less than 15 months) during the first seizure, frequent fevers, and having immediate family members with a history of febrile seizures.
- If the seizure occurs soon after a fever has begun or when the temperature is relatively low, the risk of recurrence is higher.
In ambulance the medic gave Cooper an IV. When he stuck him with the needle his little eye flew open. He looked at the medic and in a stern voice said, "You hurt me. I'm mad at you. Don't stick me again." This was the first time he spoke since having the seizure. My eye filled with tears. My smart little boy was back.
After a thorough check from our primary physician, Cooper got a clean bill of health. There was a virus going around town and that's where the fever came from.
I really hope Cooper never, ever has another seizure again. No matter how common or harmless this particular seizure is ... it's still terrifying. It's heartbreaking to watch your child go through something like this and feel so helpless. The good news is we know what to do if there is ever a next time (place the child on a flat surface like the floor; don't try to hold the child down or keep them from shaking; turn their head to the side in case of vomiting; and don't stick anything in their mouth).