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Convulsions (Fits)

Symptoms of Convulsions or Fits could be due to:


Symptoms and indications: There are several forms of and usually the symptoms arise suddenly. Occasionally, the person has a warning that an attack is about to occur. This is called aura epileptica and takes the form of odd or unpleasant sensations of sound, sight or smell, a change of mood, or pain or trembling in the muscles.

Grand mal seizure: This affects all age groups and involves a sudden loss of consciousness. The person falls to the ground, the muscles are stiff and he or she has a rapid pulse, poor pallor and dilated pupils. The body is then thrown into spasm by violent jerking of the muscles. The person may gnash the teeth, bite the tongue and froth at the mouth, and the eyes roll in the head. Breathing is noisy and the person may lose control of the bladder and bowel function. The attack usually lasts up to a few minutes and the body then relaxes. The person may regain consciousness to a certain extent but is usually very confused and soon falls into a deep sleep that may last for a few hours. On waking, the person may be restored to normal or feel tired, subdued and depressed.

Petit mal seizure: This often occurs in children and is characterized by a loss of awareness. The person suddenly stops the activity in which he or she is engaged and looks blank and is not aware of his or her surroundings. There may be some odd muscular movements or changes of expression. The attack lasts for a very short time and the person usually comes round and resumes previous activity, often being unaware of the episode.

Temporal lobe epilepsy: The affected person suddenly changes and behaves in an abnormal and inappropriate way, becoming angry or aggressive or agitated. Such behaviour is unusual and abnormal for that person.

Focal epilepsy: One part of the body is thrown into muscular spasm, although this may spread to involve the whole body, but there is no loss of consciousness.

A person who has an epileptic seizure requires immediate medical attention.

Treatment: Is tailored to each individual's requirements and the person will require monitoring and periodic check-ups. Various anticonvulsive drugs are used to control epilepsy, including phenytoin, prmidone, methoin, clonazepam, sodium valproate and carbamazepine. The type and dose that is most effective varies between individuals. A person who suffers from epilepsy should not drink alcohol and may not be allowed to drive until 2 years have passed without an attack. Usually, seizures can be prevented and controlled and a person suffering from epilepsy can expect to lead a normal life. However, the condition generally cannot be cured except in those cases where surgery or other treatment can correct a brain disorder.

Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes. Usually, it starts in children between the ages of 2 and 14 and quite frequently below the age of 5.


Symptoms and indications: At the outset a fever is frequently marked by shivering that can become quite violent. In addition, in the early stages there is accompanying headache, sickness, thirst, diarrhoea or constipation, and possibly back pains. This is usually followed by an increase in pulse and breathing, hot dry skin, a marked thirst and loss of appetite and reduced urination. In severe cases where the body temperature continuesto rise, there will be Delirium. Loss of strngth and some wasting of muscles may occur in prolonged cases.

Treatment: Because a fever is a symptom of another condition or illness, it is vital that the underlying condition is treated. At the same time, some steps may be taken in an attempt to reduce the body temperature directly. The affected person may be sponged with tepid water or placed in a bath in which the water temperature is gradually lowered. Certain antipyretic drugs, such as paracetamol and quinine, act on the controlling centres of the brain causing greater heat loss through the skin.

Persons most commonly affected: May affect all ages and both sexes.


Symptoms and indications: The symptoms include a severe headache, sensitivity to light and sound, muscle rigidity, especially affecting the neck, Kernig's sign (an inability to straighten the legs at the knees when the thighs are at right angles to the body), vomiting, confusion and coma, leading to death. These are caused by inflammation of the meninges and by a rise in intracranial pressure. One of the features of meningitis is that there is a change in the constituents and appearance of the cerebrospinal fluid and the infective organism can usually be isolated from it and identified. One of the most feared aspects of (bacterial) meningitis is that the onset of symptoms can be very rapid and death can follow swiftly. A person with symptoms of meningitis requires admittance to hospital for urgent medical treatment.

Treatment: Depends upon the cause of the meningitis, which is established by analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid. If the cause is a virus, the disease is usually less severe but may still prove fatal in some cases. Mild cases may recover spontaneously with bed rest in a darkened room. Some cases require treatment by means of antiviral drugs, such as acylovir, given intravenously. If the cause is fungal or yeast infection, the drug amphotericin B is normally given intravenously. Various bacteria may cause meningitis, especially those responsible for Tuberculosis, Pneumonia and Syphilis. Treatment is by means of intensive doses of appropriate antibiotics and sulphonamide drugs given intravenously. The person requires additional treatment to correct dehydration and electrolyte disturbances and to lower fever.

Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.

Roseola Infantum or Pseudorubella or Exanthem Subitum

Symptoms and indications: The child suddenly develops a high fever of 103° to 105°F or 39.5° to 40.5°C, for which there is no obvious cause. The fever usually lasts about 3-5 days and convulsions may occur. The child is irritable and unwell. The fever normally reaches a peak and then subsides and this coincides in some, but not all cases, with the development of a red rash, mainly on the chest and abdomen. This normally subsides quite soon and by this time the child is evidently feeling much better. A child who develops a high fever should always be seen by a doctor. The doctor should be summoned urgently if the child has a convulsion or shows signs of dehydration.

Treatment: Consists of measures to reduce fever, including the use of medicines containing paracetamol that are designed for young children, tepid sponging and cooling fans. The child should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids. In rare cases, admittance to hospital may be required. The child normally recovers well after a few days.

Persons most commonly affected: Babies and young children aged between six months to three years.

Other problems that could cause Symptoms of Convulsions or Fits could be connected with: Asphyxia, Brain tumour, Eclampsia of pregnancy, Head injury, Reye's syndrome, Pulmonary hypertension and others.




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