Fainting in children and adolescents: what to do if my child has syncope

Syncope or fainting is a sudden, complete and transitory loss of consciousness and muscle tone. It is a mechanism of defense of the organism, and although it can be very alarming and stressful for the parents who witness it, pediatricians insist that in most cases they are benign episodes.

Today we talk about fainting in adolescents and children, why they occur and what we should do if this situation occurs.

What is syncope and what incidence does it have?

Syncope It is not a disease but a symptom, and occurs frequently in children and adolescents, with an incidence of between 15 and 25%.

They usually occur especially between the ages of 12 and 19, however, episodes are also observed in younger children, usually preceded by sob spasms.

Why do fainting occur?

Fainting occurs because not enough blood reaches the brain, and this occurs for various reasons:

  • In children and adolescents there is usually talk of vasovagal syncope, which is the one produced before physical stimuli, such as pain, heat, dehydration, fatigue, getting up quickly after having been sitting or lying down for a long time ... or psychic stimuli, such as the anguish caused by medical instruments or the vision of blood, the anxiety of staying in a closed space ...

  • It can also be caused by other medical causes derived from hypoglycemia when there is diabetes, anemia or taking certain medications.

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In most cases fainting occurs due to benign causes, although medical assessment is important and essential, because in a small percentage of cases they could be symptoms of heart disease, especially when they take place during physical exercise or are accompanied by pressure or pain in the chest.

Symptoms of fainting in children and adolescents

Fainting is preceded by a series of symptoms such as blurred vision, excessive sweating, increased respiratory rate, weakness, palpitations and paleness. Next there is loss of muscle strength and fainting.

The duration of fainting is usually short, and the patient comes back after lying down for a few minutes. When you wake up, you don't remember anything that has happened.

What to do if my child faints?

Yes you can, it is advisable to act before fainting occurs and thus avoid the blow that the child can take in the fall.

Therefore, if our child shows us any of the previous symptoms described above, we must act quickly, lying on the floor and keeping your legs slightly elevated. If this position could not be adopted, pediatricians recommend placing the head between the legs or doing leg exercises to increase blood flow.

If fainting is repeated it is advisable to try to find the common cause, in order to put a preventive remedy so that they do not happen again. For example, in the case of children or adolescents who suffer from syncope before blood collection, it is usually sufficient to take postural measures during the practice of this medical procedure.

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If it is not possible to act preventively, before a fainting we must:

  • Facilitate air circulation, clearing people who are around the patient who is lying on the floor.
  • Raise the legs above the head.
  • Loosen the garments that press the neck.
  • If the child or teenager vomits, we must put him on his side to avoid drowning.

As usual, in a matter of two or three minutes the patient will have regained consciousness, although it is preferable that you remain calm for a few more minutes, sitting with your legs bent and your head resting between them, and in an environment as cool as possible.

We must immediately notify the emergency services in case the patient does not return after this time, has been hit in the head during the fall or has an injury that should be treated, suffer seizures or manifest other discomfort.

The fainting of a child is a very alarming situation for parents, especially if it has never been witnessed. But it is important to remember what pediatricians say, and in most cases it is a banal episode.

Via Pediatria Integral, Medicine Plus, In Family - AEP

Video: Fainting in Children - Mayo Clinic (April 2020).