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A convulsion is a fit regarded as a medical condition where body muscles contract and relax rapidly and repeatedly, resulting in an uncontrolled shaking of the body. A person having convulsion appears to be shaking rapidly and without control.





Signs and Symptoms

When a person is having a convulsion, they may experience several different symptoms. These may include:

  • losing consciousness, which is followed by confusion

  • having uncontrollable muscle spasms

  • drooling or frothing at the mouth falling

  • clenching your teeth

  • having sudden, rapid eye movements

  • making unusual noises, such as grunting

  • losing control of bladder or bowel function

  • temporary cessation of breathing


Symptoms usually last from a few seconds to around 15 minutes. It is advised to make sure they don't fall and injure themselves, cushion their head and loosen any restricting clothing/jewelry, and also call for medical help. Do not try to pin/hold them in place, as this could possibly cause harm or injury to the individual.



Convulsions are often caused by some sort of electrical activity mishap in the brain. Oftentimes, the cause is not able to be pinpointed. A very common cause of convulsion is fever. Other possibilities include

  • a brain infection, such as meningitis

  • a brain injury during childbirth

  • Chemical in the blood

  • Lack of oxygen to the brain

  • electric shock

  • head trauma

  • low blood glucose levels

  • a stroke


There’s no guaranteed way to prevent convulsions. For febrile convulsions, one’s fever can be lowered and become more comfortable by using paracetamol and taking off extra clothing. Sometimes the fit will be the first sign of a fever.


If one has a lot of febrile convulsions, your doctor might rarely consider prescribing anticonvulsant medications to be taken on continually for several years to prevent the fits. But this is a rare treatment, which a paediatrician or paediatric neurologist would prescribe and supervise.


The long-term treatment of general convulsions depends on what’s causing them and how bad they are. A febrile convulsion usually lasts only a few minutes, and almost always stops by itself before you get the chance to do anything about it.

What to do

  • Stay calm.

  • Look around - is the person in a dangerous place?  If not, don't move them. Move objects like furniture away from them.

  • Note the time the fit starts.

  • Stay with them. If they don't collapse but seem blank or confused, gently guide them away from any danger. Speak quietly and calmly.

  • Cushion their head with something soft if they have collapsed to the ground.

  • Make free their head and neck. Loosen tight clothing surrounding their head or neck

  • Watch out for any vomit. If they vomit, move them to their side and clear out their mouth.

  • Don't hold them down.

  • Don't put anything in their mouth.

  • Check the time again. If the fit doesn't stop after 5 minutes, call for an ambulance.

  • After the convulsion has stopped, put them into the recovery position and check that their breathing is returning to normal.

  • Gently check their mouth to see that nothing is blocking their airway such as food or false teeth. If their breathing sounds difficult after the fit has stopped, call for an ambulance.

  • Stay with them until they are fully recovered.





Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated June 14 2017.

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