In all my years, I have never ever heard of this!
Alicia Brown Philips recently experienced what she describes as "one of the scariest moments of my life" while curling her little sister Gracie's hair.
Alicia was curling her little sisters hair for church. She had been doing so for about 5 minutes when Gracie started to gag. I imagine this wasn't something that happened often. That's when things took a scary turn.
Alicia says in her Facebook post: "I asked her if she was going to get sick and she shook her head yes. I get my little daughters out of the bathroom and start to hold her hair up for her as she leans over the toilet. 30 seconds later... she looks at me. She is extremely pale with blue lips and starts to pass out. Her pupils got really big and I caught her. I start screaming for Dale to come help. Gracie has a blank stare and look on her face and is completely unresponsive and limp for about a minute. Her hands were also shaking. Very seizure like. She then comes back to and says she feels much better. She says she remembers hearing us talk but couldn’t see us. I was crying. She was very confused. My mom and dad rush to my house and a few hours in Children’s hospital, an EKG, and a head scan later... she is fine. Turns out there is something called hair-grooming syncope."
Hair-grooming syncope (also known as hair-combing syncope) is a form of syncope (a fainting disorder) associated with combing and brushing one's hair. It is most typically seen in children aged five to sixteen. I had never heard about this condition before. I don't think I'm alone in that.
Hair-grooming syncope typically happens during hair combing, brushing, braiding, trimming, curling, or blow drying, hence its name. These symptoms can be followed by a loss of consciousness and sometimes convulsions. According to Wikipedia, migraines, abdominal pain, "feeling funny" or blurred vision may also occur before or after seizures. Possible causes of the condition include pain or nerve stimulation on the scalp, or compression of blood vessels or nerves resulting from neck flexion or extension (bending the neck back and forth).
A 2009 study identified 111 pediatric cases of hair-grooming syncope in the United States, almost three-quarters of which were in female patients; that study found that the condition is most associated with hair cutting in males and brushing in females.
That means that it is quite rare for this to happen - but it does happen!
Alicia was told: if Gracie ever starts to feel nauseous or light headed while getting her hair brushed to sit down and take a break. They wanted to put this message out there for others to see.
She has these words to share: "If a kid ever complains of their belly hurting or feeling light headed while they are getting their hair done, make sure they take a seat and keep a close eye on them! Apparently very rare but so scary to see it happen!"