An estimated one in four healthy children and teens will faint at some point in their young lives. In most cases, fainting doesn’t signal a serious problem. But since fainting can also signal a serious problem, fainting episodes should always be evaluated by the team at THINK Neurology for Kids. If you’re worried because your child fainted, you can get timely help without waiting months for an appointment. Call the office in The Woodlands, Katy, Sugar Land, or Austin, Texas, or schedule an appointment online.

Fainting Q & A

Why does a child faint?

Fainting, a sudden loss of consciousness occurs when blood pressure drops. As a result, blood flow to the brain decreases, the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, and you faint.

Many patients naturally sit or lie down when they start to feel faint. If they don’t, they fall as their body loses muscle tone. In most cases, fainting episodes are short-lived, and your child recovers in a few seconds or minutes.

What causes fainting?

Children and teens faint for two primary reasons: Vasovagal syncope or an underlying health condition.

Vasovagal syncope occurs when their body overreacts to specific triggers, making their heart rate and blood pressure suddenly drop. Common triggers include:

  • Dehydration
  • High body temperature
  • Sight of blood
  • Breathing too quickly
  • Strong emotions (fear, anxiety)
  • Standing still for a long time

Fainting can also occur due to underlying health problems, such as:

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders
  • Heart defects
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart valve conditions
  • Cardiomyopathy

Though fainting is relatively common in children and teens, your child should always be evaluated after a fainting episode to be sure it isn’t a sign of a serious health condition.

Do warning signs occur before fainting?

Shortly before they faint, children and teens may experience warning signs:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Sudden cold feeling
  • Changes in vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Muffled hearing

Changes in vision include blurry or spotty vision or a darkened visual field.

How is the cause of fainting diagnosed?

Getting to the cause of fainting begins with a detailed review of your child’s medical history, a thorough physical examination, and blood work if needed. The team at THINK Neurology for Kids uses their extensive expertise to identify or rule out conditions associated with fainting, such as epilepsy.

Based on the results of the examination, your child may need additional diagnostic testing. One possible test, an electroencephalogram (EEG), reveals any potential problems in the brain that could contribute to or result from fainting.

How is fainting treated? 

Treatment always focuses on the cause of your child’s fainting. When vasovagal syncope is diagnosed, their doctor may recommend boosting your child’s fluid intake and increasing salt in their diet. Children and teens should also eat on a regular schedule and have a plan to avoid the things that trigger their fainting.

Even if your child only faints once, they should be evaluated by the caring team at THINK Neurology for Kids — call or schedule an appointment online today.