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What To Know About Seizures In Babies | Affinity Health

Affinity Health, a leading provider of affordable medical insurance, explains what happens inside your child’s brain during a seizure, the signs and symptoms, and what to do.


The good news is that seizures in babies are rarely life-threatening. Still, it can be scary seeing your child having one.


In the first four weeks of a baby’s life, seizures are the most common neurological emergency. Seizures can also affect older babies, with about 4-5% of all children experiencing a seizure at some point during their childhood, as per WebMD.


What Causes Seizures In Babies?

A seizure occurs when the nerve cells in your child’s brain send out sudden, excessive, uncontrolled electrical signals. These extra bursts of electrical activity can occur for a variety of reasons. This is why recognising the triggers for a seizure is an important step in understanding how to lessen the chance your baby will experience a seizure.


Brain injury, sleep deprivation, stress, infection, flashing light patterns, low blood sugar, and underlying health conditions such as cerebral palsy are all possible causes. Medical News Today has previously reported that a high fever can sometimes also cause seizures in babies.


Signs And Symptoms Of Seizures

Because seizures can take many forms, sometimes it is difficult for parents or caregivers to notice seizures in babies. However, Kids Health advises that common signs include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Twitching, muscle spasms
  • Involuntary arm and leg movements
  • Staring spells
  • Eye-rolling
  • Long pauses between breaths.


In older children, studies have reported signs may include changes in vision, speech, or both, head nodding, extreme sleepiness and irritability. More severe signs are vomiting, loss of bowel or bladder control, falling for no apparent reason, and convulsions.


While most cases of seizures in babies usually last only a few minutes and stop on their own, it’s still not known whether episodes can have long-term effects. Most scientists previously believed that seizures did not cause any brain damage, instead attributing brain damage to an underlying illness. However, some reservations are surfacing now.


“Although the majority of seizures aren’t dangerous, some could indicate that your child has an underlying medical condition,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“If your baby is having prolonged seizures or frequent seizures, it’s important to notify your paediatrician immediately so they can make an accurate diagnosis.”


In addition to a physical exam and blood tests, your doctor may also order an EEG to check the electrical activity in your child’s brain or request a brain scan such as an MRI with a specific epilepsy protocol.


What To Do If Your Baby Has A Seizure

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes advises that it’s important to stay with your child during a seizure. To reduce the risk of injury to a baby who is having a seizure, keep them away from any sharp or hard objects.


In the case of older children, gently ease the child to the floor if sitting or standing. To avoid choking, roll them onto their side. Avoid putting anything in your baby’s mouth or attempting to stop any mouth movements, such as tongue biting, as this can cause injury.


Use the iER mobile app to access an ambulance, or take your baby to an emergency room if they are:

  • Struggling to breathe
  • Turning blue
  • Experiencing symptoms for longer than 5 minutes


Affinity Health offers a range of competitively priced health insurance products designed to protect you and your family against unforeseen medical expenses.


The range includes Diagnostic Benefits under the Hospital, and Combined Plans to assist in detecting and confirming the presence or absence of any disease, injury, or other health condition that requires medical attention.


About Affinity Health

Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.




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