Teen Fainting – Should You Be Concerned?
Fainting can be common in teens, and most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. Changes in the circulatory or nervous system can create a temporary drop in the amount of blood that goes to the brain, causing a person to lose consciousness. When you understand the causes of fainting, then you know how to respond and what to watch for in the future.
Causes and Prevention of Teen Fainting
Physical surroundings – Getting too warm from exercise or being in a stuffy room can trigger fainting. In addition, standing for a long time or getting up too quickly after lying down can cause a teen to faint.
What to do: If possible, lie down. When feeling better, move to sitting, then slowly standing. If you can’t lie down, then sit with your head between your knees to get blood back to the brain. When standing for long periods of time, move your legs periodically and don’t lock your knees.
Food/water connections – Being overly hungry, whether from skipping meals or an eating disorder, can cause fainting from low blood sugar. Dehydration and anemia can also have the same effect. Some illegal drug use can also cause fainting, such as inhalants, cocaine or methamphetamine.
What to do: Teens need to be encouraged to drink plenty of water, especially when exercising. And women need to maintain iron through diet, especially during menstrual periods. If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk with a professional about getting the right resources.
Emotional reactions – When the nervous system has a sudden shock, such as anxiety, pain or fear, then blood pressure can drop so low as to trigger fainting. Hyperventilating from anxiety can have the same reaction.
What to do: Sit or lie down. Drink plenty of fluids.
Physical conditions – Conditions such as pregnancy or heart conditions can cause fainting.
How to Know When to Go to the Doctor for Fainting
If fainting is rare, and you can clearly identify the cause, then there is probably no need for medical care. There are times when it is good to see your doctor:
- If the teen is taking prescription medications that could be related to the fainting.
- If you suspect or have a family history of abnormal heartbeat or heart problems, talk with a doctor to rule out or confirm a heart condition that needs treatment.
- If someone experiences a hard hit to the head when fainting, seek medical attention for a possible concussion.
- If fainting seems to happen more often than you think is normal, talk with a doctor.