Absence seizures, more common in children than in adults are characterised by brief, sudden unconsciousness and may make the person look like staring into space for a few seconds. Usually, no physical injury results from these seizures.
Doctors prescribe anti-seizure medications to control absence seizures. Children with absence seizures may also develop other types of seizures, however, many children outgrow absence seizures as they reach teen-age.
A vacant stare is the most common sign of absence seizure. These stares can often be mistaken for a lapse of attention that lasts 10 to 15 seconds. This may not be accompanied by any subsequent confusion, headache or drowsiness. Other signs and symptoms of absence seizures are:
These seizures may last for 10-15 seconds generally and an immediate full recovery follows them. People with absence seizures may not remember the incident afterwards; the frequency of these seizures may be up to a dozen episodes daily, which can interfere with routine activities.
The seizures are so brief that an adult may not notice it sooner in a child. The first indication of this disorder may be the child's impaired learning ability due to lapse in consciousness. Pay attention to your child's teacher commenting on his/her inability to pay attention.
In case of noticing a seizure for the first time, or a new type of seizure, or if an anti-seizure medication is not suppressing it, you must contact your doctor. A seizure that lasts for more than five minutes should get immediate medical attention.
If you observe prolonged automatic behaviours — activities such as eating or moving without awareness — or prolonged confusion, possible symptoms of a condition called absence status epilepticus. This also calls for immediate attention.
Absence seizures are more common in children between the ages of 4 and 10; putting girls more at the risk of it. Nearly half of children with absence seizures have a close relative who has seizures.
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