Dizziness in Children

If your child tells you he feels dizzy, don’t be unduly alarmed, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP. Dizziness is common among healthy children and can result from a child spinning around during play, or from getting up too quickly from squatting or sitting down 2. However, sometimes dizziness can be a sign of a more serious condition, so you should feel free to speak with your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Symptoms

When your child says he feels dizzy, most likely he feels lightheaded or unsteady, explains the AAP. However, if your child says he feels like the room is spinning, or feels unsteady while sitting or standing still, then he may have a condition called vertigo. Feelings of vertigo can be difficult for a child to articulate, so you may want to ask your child about specific vertigo symptoms to gain a greater understanding of what your child is experiencing.

Causes

How your child describes her feelings of dizziness will be key to helping her pediatrician determine the cause. For example, if a child feels the room is spinning, then her pediatrician will likely look for causes of vertigo, such as inflammation of the inner ear or Meniere's disease, the excessive buildup of fluid in the inner ear. However, if your child says she feels faint, then the doctor may check for a drop in blood pressure. A loss of balance may also indicate an inner-ear problem.

Dizziness may be accompanied by other conditions, such as migraine headache, nausea, or synocope. Synocope, or a temporary loss of consciousness, is common in childhood, with nearly half of college students surveyed in one medical study reporting having experienced synocope, according to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Generally, synocope is caused by a decrease in blood pressure, but may also result from seizures or migraines, or from a child holding her breath, hyperventilating, or becoming hysterical.

Warning Signs

If your child experiences any unexplained, recurrent or severe dizziness, see his pediatrician immediately. You should also contact his pediatrician as soon as possible if the dizziness is accompanied by a head injury, stiff neck, high fever, blurred vision, hearing loss, problems with speech, weakness in the limbs or difficulty walking, chest pain or a slow heart rate.

Treatment

Most often, dizziness is transient and will resolve itself without the need for treatment 5. However, if your child experiences recurring dizziness, her pediatrician may recommend a number of treatment options based on her symptoms and the underlying cause of the dizziness 5.

The Wrap Up

For example, if a child feels the room is spinning, then her pediatrician will likely look for causes of vertigo, such as inflammation of the inner ear or Meniere's disease, the excessive buildup of fluid in the inner ear. Generally, synocope is caused by a decrease in blood pressure, but may also result from seizures or migraines, or from a child holding her breath, hyperventilating, or becoming hysterical. Synocope, or a temporary loss of consciousness, is common in childhood, with nearly half of college students surveyed in one medical study reporting having experienced synocope, according to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

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