Commentary: Raising My Concerns with Febrile Seizures and Sudden Deaths in Infants and Youth.

When I heard of the five-year-old from Texas that died from COVID-19, my heart dropped. Every parent wants to believe that our children are safe. Somehow this horrible virus, like a miracle, passes over them. Still, when I saw the parents of Tagan Ja’Nae Marie Drone on CNN speaking about their beautiful daughter, the reality just was not in alignment with my hopes of our children being completely safe from this thing. Overall, it is rare that children die because of this virus. Still, I have learned so many more Black people and children are embedded in the word “rare” regarding science and public health.

In February of 2020, my 3-year-old daughter had a fever of 103.2 degrees; she was diagnosed with febrile seizures when she was about 2-years-old maybe close to three. The seizures were accompanied by an ear infection, which caused her temperature to rise. With my child, infections and viruses scare me because I know there’s a possibility that her temp can spike in a moment. She can go into a seizure and convulse. Doctors and studies say that these seizures are harmless. I do not contest that I do not believe they cause brain damage. I am adamant about standing by the science.

However, I cannot help but be curious about what could happen if my child was asleep and her temp spiked; if there’s a virus or I am fighting a fever with a Tylenol/Motrin cocktail, I do not sleep. There are times when I thought I had it under control. I touch her in the middle of the night, and she’s on fire. I wake her to give her a Pedialyte freezer pop and another dose of medicine, and in the midst, she begins to seize and the “what’s if” plague my thinking. In February, when her temp went up, they could not find the cause; it was considered flulike. I now believe it was the coronavirus. She was fine other than a fever. She had no other symptoms; just out of nowhere, her temp would spike. I would get it under control, and she would be back to playing, then later here’s the fever again. The second time was probably the worse seizure I had experienced with her. She convulsed for about a minute, and it typically would last for no more than 15 seconds. Again, had I not known to watch her because of her diagnosis of febrile seizures, what would happen.

I love our pediatrician for never stopping and researching all avenues when something is not right. Still, my investigative spirit goes farther all the time. I am a root digger. When there’s an increase in Black kids’ sudden deaths, I cannot help but wonder if there’s a correlation. I am definitely not attempting to point blame at anyone. I am digging to raise awareness and bring forth more research.

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