Vertigo in Children

June 15, 2020
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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If your child has been recently diagnosed with a medical condition — or if they are not feeling well enough to cause concern — you are likely feeling overwhelmed and anxious. This is especially the case when the condition is not as well-known as other ailments. In addition to being scared, you have to decipher what medical terms mean, and how it will all affect your child’s life. Such is the case with vertigo. What is it? What causes it? What are the symptoms? And, what is the best form of treatment to ensure your child’s wellbeing?

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is a sensation that causes a person to feel like the environment around them is spinning. Another modality is to feel like you’re moving when you’re not. As a result, your child may feel dizzy and/or have trouble maintaining their balance.

There are several types of vertigo. Each type impacts your child differently.

  1. Peripheral vertigo is caused by issues within the inner ear of the child.
  2. Central vertigo occurs when the child is dealing with issues affecting their brain.
  3. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) has no known cause. However, in some patients, it follows after a blow to the head — whether minor or severe. It has also happened to children after prolonged time on their backs.

Causes of Vertigo in Children

A common cause of peripheral vertigo in children is Meniere’s disease — a disorder that comes in episodes and affects the child’s ears. In addition to vertigo, symptoms of Meniere’s disease include a loss of balance, headaches, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, and sweating caused by severe vertigo. The reason why the conditions are so interrelated is that the body’s sense of balance is located within the vestibular system — the part of the body that’s responsible for providing the brain with information regarding spatial orientation and the ability to keep our balance. And the vestibular system is located within the ears.

However, it is also possible for children to experience vertigo without having any issues with their eardrums. When a child is experiencing central vertigo, it could be a sign of serious health conditions — including migraines, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or a brain tumor.

Symptoms of Vertigo in Children

  • Feeling like the room is spinning
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Dizziness
  • Ear pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headache
  • Swaying
  • Stumbling while walking
  • Falling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating

Diagnosis of Vertigo in Children

Since vertigo is often a sign of an underlying medical condition, your child’s pediatrician will run several tests to determine the type of vertigo your child is experiencing as well as to find out what is causing it.

Some tests include physical evaluations where your child may be instructed to conduct certain types of movements. These are designed to evaluate their sense of balance and how vertigo may be affecting their motor skills. In addition, the pediatrician will order imaging testing — such as an MRI or CT scan — to determine if the brain is being affected.

Treatment of Vertigo in Children

Treatment for vertigo will depend on what is causing it in the first place. The most common treatments include:

  1. Vestibular blocking agents (VBAs). These medications are known as antiemetics. They are designed to alleviate symptoms of dizziness and nausea.
  2. Vestibular rehabilitation. This is a type of physical therapy to train your child to rely on other senses to compensate for the ones affected by vertigo.
  3. Canalith repositioning. This involves head and body movements designed to move components of the inner ear that are causing symptoms of vertigo.
  4. Antibiotics or water pills. These medications are prescribed to children who have an ear infection, as well as to reduce the amount of fluid inside the ears.

When To See a Doctor

Since vertigo is often a symptom of a more serious medical condition, you should always seek medical care whenever your child is complaining of symptoms of vertigo. This can help prevent life-threatening complications.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids are here to help.

Our home care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We hire loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.