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What are infant seizures?
Infant seizure is a serious medical event that occurs when the brain is suddenly flooded by abnormal electrical transmissions. All movements of the human body are generated and controlled by electrical impulse signals transmitted from the brain. When a seizure occurs, it disrupts the functioning of the brain.
Types of infant seizures.
1. Focal seizures.
Focal seizure or a partial seizure occurs when abnormal brain functioning is focused on one or more specific areas of the side of the brain. The infant is likely to experience some pre-cursor symptom also called “aura” just before the seizure occurs. These are some of the common pre-cursor symptoms:
- Mental confusion.
- Vision or hearing changes.
- Strange smells.
Focal seizures are subdivided into two subtypes:
i. Simple focal seizure.
Simple focal seizures involve various symptoms and characteristics depending on the part of the brain that is affected.
ii. Complex focal seizure.
focal seizures involve the temporal lobe of the brain and the infant passes out or temporarily loses mental awareness.
Absence seizures are also called “petit mal” seizures. The infant may appear to have short episodes of staring into space, blinking their eyes quickly, or moving their mouth as if chewing. Absence seizures rarely last longer than 20-30 seconds and can happen several times a day.
3. Atonic seizure.
This type of seizure causes a very sudden and dramatic loss of muscle tone causing babies to go limp or older children to fall from a standing position or drop their head and arms and become unresponsive.
4. Infantile spasms.
This type of infant seizure is very rare and occurs in infants under 6 months old. Infantile spasms occur by sudden spasms of the neck, legs, and body. It usually occurs when a baby is waking up or when falling asleep. This type of seizure can occur over a hundred times a day and can cause serious health complications.
5. Febrile seizures.
The infant’s limbs may either stiffen or twitch and jerk, and their eyes may roll. This is the most common type of infant seizures. It is usually caused by a fever (often caused by infections) above 102 degrees.
6. Tonic seizures.
This type of infant seizure causes parts or all the infant’s body to stiffen suddenly.
7. Myoclonic seizures.
A group of muscles in the infant’s body may all start to jerk in clusters several times in a day. These muscle groups are mostly shoulders, upper arms, and neck.
How to help your child during a seizure.
I think your baby is having a seizure, you should take these few steps to ensure its safety.
- Remove objects that may physically harm your baby.
- Gently roll your baby onto their side to prevent choking.
- Avoid trying to open the baby’s mouth, putting anything in their mouth, or restricting movements by holding them.
How do doctors know if your baby has seizures?
The following are the tests that can diagnose infant seizures:
- An EEG to look for abnormal activity in the brain.
- An MRI of the head to look for structural abnormalities in the brain.
- Chromosomal studies to look for genetic disorders.
- Spinal tap to look for infections, chemical disorders, or metabolic disorders.
- Blood or urine tests to look for metabolic issues or chemical disorders.
What are the causes of infant seizures?
Here are the most common causes of baby seizures:
- Brain damage from illness or injury.
- Prolonged second stage labor.
- Traumatic brain injury.