The rare condition that causes children to pass out while their hair is brushed

A 10-year-old girl went pale and passed out from a rare condition doctors say was triggered by her hair being groomed.

Alicia Renee Phillips, who has three children of her own, was curling her little sister Gracie Brown’s hair earlier this month when she noticed the girl turning pale.

“I was maybe about five minutes in and she starts to gag a little and looks kind of pale,” the woman – from Clinton, Tennessee – wrote on Facebook.

Alicia Renee Phillips (left) was curling her sister's (right) hair when the child turned pale and passed out. Source: Alicia Renee Phillips / Facebook

“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.”

After calling her husband for help, Ms Phillips said Grace became “unresponsive”, but her hands were shaking.

“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,” she said.

Doctors diagnose Grace with hair grooming syncope

Ms Phillips said Grace spent a few hours in the children’s hospital getting scans and tests, but doctors said she was “fine”.

The emergency room physician at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville diagnosed Grace with hair grooming syncope, a children’s condition in which touching, combing or cutting hair causes temporary loss of consciousness, or fainting.

Gracie Brown, 10, was taken to the children's hospital where doctors diagnosed her with hair grooming syncope. Source: Alicia Renee Phillips / Facebook

Despite occurring in both young boys and girls, a 2009 study notes that about 78 per cent of all hair-grooming syncope cases are female adolescents around the age of 11.

“I have never heard of this before,” Ms Phillips said of the diagnosis.

“We were told if she ever starts to feel nauseous or light-headed while getting her hair brushed to sit down and take a break.”

Since the incident, Ms Phillips says Grace is doing well, but is advising parents to keep an eye out for any of the symptoms in their children.

“I am putting this out there for others to see,” she said.

“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!”

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