Fevers and Convulsions

One of the reasons that many parents feel so strongly about bringing their children’s fevers down is the lurking fear of febrile seizures and brain damage. When a child does have a febrile seizure, it is often one of the most terrifying moments in the parent’s lives. Even when we reassure them that febrile seizures are not dangerous, fear of lasting brain damage lingers.

A study published in the August 2001 issue of Neurology looked at 6-year-olds who had febrile seizures when they were younger. Researchers gave tests of learning, spatial memory, and sequential memory tasks to these children and to similar healthy children.

Those who had the seizures scored better than the control children on all tests!

I don’t (of course) recommend giving kids seizures, but I do recommend a deep sigh of relief if your child has had a febrile seizure. Evidence continues to mount that febrile seizures do not harm intelligence.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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