Evaluation and management of febrile seizures in the out-of-hospital and emergency department settings

Ann Emerg Med. 2003 Feb;41(2):215-22. doi: 10.1067/mem.2003.48.


Febrile seizures are the most common seizures seen in children younger than 5 years old. Out-of-hospital and emergency department providers need to be familiar with the principles of the evaluation and management of this common disorder. Most febrile seizures are brief, do not require any specific treatment or extensive workup, and have a benign prognosis. Recognizing the pattern of a simple febrile seizure in young children is important to limit interventions and to reassure parents. Patients with febrile seizures are not at higher risk for serious bacterial illnesses than similarly aged febrile patients. Excluding meningitis and encephalitis are the primary clinical interventions through a thorough history and physical examination and, occasionally, a lumbar puncture. Reassuring parents of patients with febrile seizures and arranging primary care follow-up are important roles for the emergency physician.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Seizures, Febrile / diagnosis*
  • Seizures, Febrile / epidemiology
  • Seizures, Febrile / therapy*