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Toddler's seizures could have benign or serious cause

Question : My nephew, age 18 months, is having seizures. The doctors here say that they are from fevers, but he's having them without fevers, as well. Can very young children get epilepsy?

Answer : Yes, very young children can have epilepsy, which is, by definition, two or more seizures without an acute cause. About 1 in 100 Americans have epilepsy, which can occur at any age. The incidence is highest in the first year or two of life.

It sounds like your nephew was diagnosed with febrile seizures, which occur in young children when there's a sudden spike in body temperature. Febrile seizures usually are harmless and don't indicate a long-term problem. The seizures can occur before a parent realizes that a child is ill with a fever.

If your nephew doesn't have fever with his seizures, they aren't febrile seizures. The seizures could be caused by a number of medical conditions, some serious. I would recommend that your nephew's family seek a second opinion with a pediatric neurologist to identify the cause and develop a treatment plan.

     
     

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