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Dr. Frank
Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 7201
Experience:  Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
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i just recently saw my toddler whole head twitch when she blinks

Resolved Question:

i just recently saw my toddler whole head twitch when she blinks is this serious??? She's never done it before??? Please help...
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.

neuromd2012 :

Welcome to Just Answer. I am an Adult Neurologist and was contacted to answer your question.

neuromd2012 :

hello

neuromd2012 :

are you there?

Customer:

yes

neuromd2012 :

hi

Customer:

hello

neuromd2012 :

is she a normal 18 month old in terms of development?

Customer:

yes

neuromd2012 :

any medical problems, any meds? what happened, she blinked and with that was a single jerk?

Customer:

no she kept blinking and her whole head would jerk when blinkingg

neuromd2012 :

how long did it last?

Customer:

a minute or so but a few different times

neuromd2012 :

ok

neuromd2012 :

and no fever

neuromd2012 :

any chance of an infection?

Customer:

no but she woul blink hard

neuromd2012 :

family history of seizures?

neuromd2012 :

any change in her level of consciousness you could sense, was she sleepy as this was happening?

Customer:

no not that im aware she looks fine but she kinda spaced out too

neuromd2012 :

ok well this sounds like an "absence" spell with frequent eye blinking , which is called an automatism

neuromd2012 :

can you video tape it with your phone?

neuromd2012 :

that would help the neurologist

Customer:

already did

neuromd2012 :

good

neuromd2012 :

so does she have a temperature or anything like a respiratory complaint?

neuromd2012 :

any viruses?

neuromd2012 :

is she irritable?

Customer:

no

neuromd2012 :

normal eating?

neuromd2012 :

normal urination in the diaper, no new smell in the diaper (urinary track infection)

Customer:

u know she was irratable now that i think about it

neuromd2012 :

ok

Customer:

everything normal

neuromd2012 :

well the concern is always that she is developing something, like meningitis

neuromd2012 :

from an ear infection etc

neuromd2012 :

but the key is fever

neuromd2012 :

and without that, and a stiff neck

neuromd2012 :

there is no reason for immediate concern

Customer:

is that bad im her dad and first time but could it be something neurological

neuromd2012 :

it could be

neuromd2012 :

I was going to say this is a simple motor tic

neuromd2012 :

but you describe frequent eye blinking that is prolonged, and the jerking that was synchronous?

neuromd2012 :

that can be a seizure in a 18 month old

neuromd2012 :

she needs a peds neurologist, it is 1 am where I am,

neuromd2012 :

where are you?

Customer:

where could i take her should i take her to the hospital now shes sleeping

neuromd2012 :

I would say no if she is comfortable and sleeping

neuromd2012 :

but you might get her looked at tomorrow

Customer:

im in california

neuromd2012 :

take that phone video with you

neuromd2012 :

so it is 10 pm

Customer:

yes

neuromd2012 :

where are you in CA?

Customer:

orange county

neuromd2012 :

oh

neuromd2012 :

so you Irving

neuromd2012 :

have

neuromd2012 :

I would take her to the pediatrician in the am if she is sleeping and normal

neuromd2012 :

and forget the ER

neuromd2012 :

the pediatrician can determine if she needs a scan or anything else emergent

Customer:

close by

neuromd2012 :

right

neuromd2012 :

just keep an eye on her tonight ok?

neuromd2012 :

if she spikes a temperature

neuromd2012 :

then you have to take her

Customer:

my wife has recently been using alot of ant poison around the house could this be something

neuromd2012 :

well it could be, but with ant poisoning, or any poisoning, there is usually a change

neuromd2012 :

in consciousness, before the seizure starts

neuromd2012 :

there is a type of seizure called an infantile spasm

Customer:

like

neuromd2012 :

that can start at this age

neuromd2012 :

it is frequent eye blinking, and an increase in trucal tone, she gets a little rigid

neuromd2012 :

and then some jerks

neuromd2012 :

it could be an infantile spasm

neuromd2012 :

hard to say from here

Customer:

how do i address this

neuromd2012 :

but the key tonight is to make sure she does not have some brain infection

neuromd2012 :

well this is not a life threatening condition

neuromd2012 :

infantile spasms will not kill her

neuromd2012 :

she will just jerk occasionally

neuromd2012 :

but she needs a diagnosis, and needs to be seen by a peds neurologist

Customer:

she was wathching tv when it started up

neuromd2012 :

starting with the pediatrician

neuromd2012 :

I see

neuromd2012 :

did she sit up kind of?

neuromd2012 :

or straighten?

Customer:

a little

neuromd2012 :

ok

neuromd2012 :

would you feel more comfortable to take her to the ER tonight?

Customer:

well yes if it could be serious

neuromd2012 :

it could be serious, but it is not a life threatening condition if she is sleeping right now comfortably

neuromd2012 :

if you take her to the ER, you need to take her to one that can do an MRI scan of the brain

Customer:

serious how

neuromd2012 :

I would not CT her

neuromd2012 :

serious in the sense that she could have a seizure disorder starting

neuromd2012 :

and there can be brain issues causing a seizure in a child her age

Customer:

is this long term

neuromd2012 :

but from one event, although you said she has been doing this a few times

neuromd2012 :

hard to say if this is long term without a diagnosis as to cause

neuromd2012 :

she will need an imaging study, an MRI and an EEG examination

neuromd2012 :

and then a diagnosis you will get

neuromd2012 :

and if it is infantile spasms for example, you might or might not choose to treat them

neuromd2012 :

in that type of disorder, about 50% grow out of them as they grow up

neuromd2012 :

and 50% develop a seizure condition into adolescence

neuromd2012 :

but you will not figure any of this out in the ER tonight

neuromd2012 :

you would only take her if they have a peds neurology program, like UC Irving

neuromd2012 :

because unless she has meningitis, they will just check her vital signs and send her home

Customer:

i work alot and get home late my wife is too busy with other kids so she doesnt really put too much tought into anything but im really scared shes my first. so i havent studied her lately

Customer:

ok is meningitis bad

neuromd2012 :

yes

neuromd2012 :

but with meningitis, you are not sleeping

Customer:

huh

Customer:

is st. joseph any good in orange

neuromd2012 :

hang on

neuromd2012 :

let me look

neuromd2012 :

not at all for an 18 month old

neuromd2012 :

you need a peds program

neuromd2012 :

no peds program at St Joseph

Customer:

what kind of hospital do i look for a good one?

neuromd2012 :

hang on

neuromd2012 :

http://www.choc.org/

neuromd2012 :

is this close?

Customer:

i think so have to look

neuromd2012 :

ok

Customer:

yes it is

neuromd2012 :

well that is the place to take her, with your cellphone if you caught her

neuromd2012 :

during a spell

Customer:

what are the odds its not serious

neuromd2012 :

probably 50/50 based on what I know here

neuromd2012 :

not serious tonight though

neuromd2012 :

not if she is sleeping comfortably, and is normal otherwise during the day

neuromd2012 :

do you have any other questions ?

Customer:

ok thank u so much u are a big help although im scared alot till i know other wise. U pointed me in the right direction anything i should look for during the night

neuromd2012 :

so any irritability during the night, awakening her, then you have to consider taking her to the ER at that hospital I suggested ok?

neuromd2012 :

or calling her pediatrician

Customer:

what should i ask for at the hospital what kind of test

neuromd2012 :

they will examen her

neuromd2012 :

and maybe check her blood for a variety of screening tests

neuromd2012 :

and then maybe a MRI scan of her brain if she has findings on examination to consider an infection or some process

neuromd2012 :

in her brain, which right now is unlikely, but I mean if she bolts up screaming tonight

neuromd2012 :

and they will get an EEG which is a brainwave test in the morning

Customer:

is all of this expensive

neuromd2012 :

yes, it can be without insurance

neuromd2012 :

so I would avoid the ER if you can

Customer:

does medical cover any of this i lost my insurance

neuromd2012 :

what do you mean by medical?

neuromd2012 :

medicaid?

neuromd2012 :

medicare?

Customer:

med i cal i think

neuromd2012 :

oh yes,

neuromd2012 :

I am in NYC

neuromd2012 :

in california, you are covered

neuromd2012 :

for most emergency visits

Customer:

k I'll sleep a lil better i appreciate ur help

neuromd2012 :

you are welcome

neuromd2012 :

Dr Frank T

neuromd2012 :

please rate my service if you can

neuromd2012 :

if you get test results and need an explanation

neuromd2012 :

get back to me ok?

neuromd2012 :

bye

Customer:

God bless u and yes

neuromd2012 :

not to worry

neuromd2012 :

bye

Dr. Frank, Board Certified Physician
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 7201
Experience: Board certified general Adult Neurologist, with experience in experimental neuroimaging and neurodiagnostics.
Dr. Frank and other Neurology Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Frank replied 1 year ago.
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