Friday, May 22, 2015

Febrile Seizures and a Busy Life

Yesterday, I read and slightly participated in a FB thread discussing the trade-off parents make in assessing risks for their children. A point was made that we, as a society, tend to discount the health risks associated with waking sleeping children and that habitually disturbing a child's nap is actually bad for the child.

Later in the afternoon, an ambulance passed the farmer's market with sirens blaring. Ever since Sam's febrile seizure when he was two years old--have I ever mentioned that Sam once had a seizure?--he almost always asks if any ambulance we pass is "his" ambulance. So I had an opportunity to retell the story of Sam's seizure to one of the vendors at the market.

This morning I thought of these two conversations together and they sparked a thought in my mind.

It is thought that febrile seizures are caused by a sudden change in body temperature, though not necessarily a concerning high body temperature. For example, a temperature that builds gradually to 102 should not trigger a seizure, but a fever that suddenly spikes to 102 might, all while 102 is objectively not a dangerous temperature in either case.

I have read that there has been a marked increase in the number of childhood febrile seizures over the last few years and doctors don't really know what is causing the increase.

Now more than ever, children are being required to conform themselves to the schedules of the adults around them. Babies and toddlers are brought to daycare and activities while their parents work and the ability of parents to take sick days away from work is sometimes limited. I wonder if children are being pushed while on the edge of illness more than they used to be.

Could the difference in the rates of febrile seizures be something as simple as children not being allowed to rest when they start to feel poorly whereas, in days past, the children would just crash on the couch when necessary?

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