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What are the Signs of Seizures in Children?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2016
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The signs of seizures in children can include confusion, hallucinations, motor impairment, behavioral changes, a blank stare, repetitive gestures, odd physical sensations and impaired communication. Not all of these symptoms are generally present during a child’s seizure and, in some instances, the signs of seizures in children go unnoticed as a child will appear to behave normally despite a neurological dysfunction. Symptoms also differ according to the types of seizures that affect children.

There are more than 20 different types of seizures and most are developed in early childhood. Seizures are characterized by abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. Depending on where these discharges occur, the signs of seizures in children will differ. For instance, focal seizures, which occur on a single side of the brain, do not interrupt a child’s consciousness, but may cause minor to severe muscle spasms. During a focal seizure a child may be completely alert and able to communicate.

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Symptoms of seizures in children are sometimes unrecognized. This is particularly true in instances where symptoms, such as a blank stare or minor confusion, only last for a few seconds. Other signs of seizures in children, such as reports of a peculiar taste or smell, may be overlooked or even assumed to be due to some other explanation. Sometimes mild signs of seizures in children tend to occur during a child’s sleep and are, therefore, often easily missed by adults. Although a child may appear to function as she or he normally would, in some types of seizures brief disturbances in the brain lasting from a few seconds to several minutes may be taking place.

Prescription medication is the most common treatment for seizures in children. In extremely rare cases, surgery may be necessary to correct a brain abnormality when such is discovered to produce signs of seizures in children. With proper treatment, seizures are often controllable and children are able to enjoy a normal quality of life.

Recognizing the signs of seizures in children is the first step in identifying an underlying neurological disorder. An extensive medical examination is necessary before a proper diagnosis can be given, however. While it may not be possible to completely prevent seizures in children, early diagnosis of seizures and a commitment to treating them can significantly reduce the impact seizures have on a child’s life.

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