What is dizziness?

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Dizziness in children: Overview

Dizziness is a feeling of fuzziness in the head. It is not the same as having vertigo. That is a feeling that the room is spinning or that you are moving or falling. And it's not the same as feeling lightheaded. That is the feeling that you are about to faint.

It can be hard to know what causes dizziness. Having a fever, the flu, or another illness can make your child feel dizzy. Not getting enough liquids (dehydration) can also cause it. Some rare conditions, such as heart problems, can make a child feel dizzy. Many medicines can cause dizziness. This includes the kind your child may take for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

If a medicine causes your child's symptoms, the doctor may have you stop or change it. If there is no clear reason for your child's symptoms, the doctor may suggest watching and waiting. This means waiting for a while to see if the problem goes away on its own.


Dizziness, or lightheadedness, is a feeling of unsteadiness. Dizziness can lead to feeling faint or to fainting (brief loss of consciousness).

Dizziness can be caused by many things, including stress and/or certain medicines.

Dizziness often goes away or improves after lying down. If it does not, it may be linked with conditions related to the inner ear or brain function.

How can you care for dizziness in children?

  • If your doctor suggests or prescribes medicine, give it exactly as directed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • If your child can drive, do not let them drive while dizzy.

Dizziness: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have sudden dizziness that doesn't get better.
  • You have dizziness along with symptoms of a heart attack. These may include:
    • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
    • Sweating.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Nausea or vomiting.
    • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly or in one or both shoulders or arms.
    • Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
    • A fast or irregular heartbeat.
  • You have symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You feel dizzy and have a fever, headache, or ringing in your ears.
  • You have new or increased nausea and vomiting.
  • Your dizziness does not go away or comes back.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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