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Stages of a Seizure

There are three stages of a seizure:

  • Aura stage
  • Ictus stage
  • Post-ictal stage

Each stage has different symptoms. It's also important to remember that symptoms vary with different types of seizures.

Aura Stage

The aura stage happens before the actual seizure begins. Children who have seizures often learn to recognize warning signs at this stage. Although people experience auras differently, symptoms can include:

  • Abnormal sensations
  • Altered taste, smell or sound perception
  • Déjà vu
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Strong or distorted emotions, such as fear or panic

Ictus Stage

The ictus stage is the seizure itself. Signs and symptoms at this stage will vary depending on the type of seizure your child experiences.

There are generalized seizures, including tonic-clonic (grand mal), tonic, clonic, absence (petite mal), myoclonic and atonic seizures.

There are also partial (focal) seizures, including simple partial (simple focal) and complex partial (psychomotor) seizures.

Post-Ictal Stage

This is the post-seizure stage. As your child’s body begins to relax and recover from the seizure, some aftereffects may set in. This stage may vary in length from a minute or 2 up to a half hour or even longer. Symptoms of the post-ictal stage may include:

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Numbness
  • Partial (temporary) paralysis