No more Spaghetti-O's for me.
January 21, 2009 8:20 AM   Subscribe

I ate some hot (temperature-wise) food and passed out. What happened?

While I was on the phone last night, I ate some hot food - unbearably scorching. Next thing I know I've passed out on my bed with the person still on the other line. They said I moaned and kept saying "Oh it's so hot!" and then all she heard was gurgling noises, and that I was out for about 5 to 10 seconds. My face was white and my vision was spinning for a few seconds. What exactly happened to me? Was it my body shutting down to protect me from the warmth of the food? Should I get it checked out (even though I feel no symptoms today)?
posted by itchie to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
First off, see a doctor™.

Second, the magic word you're searching for is probably syncope. Use that in Google searches.

™ — AskMeFi Boilerplate includes various legalese warnings like "I am not a doctor, I am not your doctor, you accept all legal liability for not being in an ambulance right now ..."
posted by adipocere at 8:27 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, get your cardiovascular system checked out. You might be at risk of something happening again. You're lucky there was a bed underneath you and not a sharp corner.
posted by echo target at 8:30 AM on January 21, 2009

I might refer to this question. Although orgasms in a hot shower aren't quite the same thing as eating habaneros, both result in vasodilation and therefore (I would think) a drop in blood pressure.

See a doctor.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:35 AM on January 21, 2009

You should see a doctor as others have said. But I'll add another possibility: If you were in such pain that you were moaning over it, you may have passed out from pain. My mother has done this on a couple of occasions after falls. She didn't hit her head or anything, the doctors just said that it was from pain. Now I'm having trouble imagining how hot something would have to be to make this happen, but I suppose it's possibly. Then again, it's also possibly there's something wrong, so go get checked out.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:41 AM on January 21, 2009

Second'ing the advice to see a doctor, but also chiming in to say that there's a 99% chance it was either pain, or a drop in blood pressure, neither of which is a big deal at all. It doesn't sound like anything to worry about.
posted by bobot at 8:51 AM on January 21, 2009

Just to clarify, don't freak out and presume you're about to die, but do find out if it's likely to happen again, and try to learn exactly what triggers it. If it just comes down to not putting scorching-hot food in your mouth, you'll be able to adapt just fine. I recommend not doing that anyway.
posted by echo target at 8:54 AM on January 21, 2009

Read up on vasovagal syncope.
posted by ottereroticist at 9:20 AM on January 21, 2009

Seems like it could have been vasovagal syncope, which can be brought on by all kinds of stress to your body, but don't listen to us; see a doctor.
posted by Zed at 9:27 AM on January 21, 2009

I don't know what it was but I had the exact same thing happen to me - I was eating a microwave meal and didn't let it stand, the outside was cool but the middle was a molten core so the heat didn't hit until after I swallowed. I tried to dash for the bathroom to grab a glass of water but I got disoriented and passed out in the bedroom (which is further than the bathroom) It was kinda scary but its never happened again and I'm much more careful with my food now.
posted by missmagenta at 9:42 AM on January 21, 2009

Definitely see a doctor. There are a host of minor conditions or individual things this could be caused by, and while it can be scary, often you can learn to avoid or adjust your exposure to triggers. I say this as someone whose blood pressure runs a little low and has experienced similar episodes.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:47 PM on January 21, 2009

They have already said it, but a vasovagal reaction is exactly what I was going to say.
I have a pretty strong reaction to some things. I pass out and get sick whenever having my blood drawn, once when I stubbed my finger, and once with a minor electrical shock. Also, I was scared out of my bed late one night when my room mate was pounding on the door and blacked out right after letter her in.
When I have this reaction, I first feel light-headed and disoriented, then nauseated, then wake up a few minutes later and get sick. Fight or flight is a crazy thing, and many things can set it off. For instance, I have a friend who can't let too much steam build up in the shower or she will faint.
Once you know, its not so bad. I've just learned my triggers and I can even calm myself down before fainting in many cases. And there is also a chance you may never have that reaction again.
posted by jmchrist at 1:27 PM on January 21, 2009

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