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First Aid for Fainting : Symptoms, Causes & How to prevent

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Do you often feel dizzy? Have you lost consciousness suddenly more than once? Do you know how to manage such a situation? This article pertains to these questions. Syncope, commonly called Fainting, is a common medical problem, with a frequency between 15% and 39% among the general population. Read on to learn more about Fainting, its causes, symptoms, and its first aid management




What is Fainting?

A Fainting spell is a brief period of unconsciousness induced by decreased blood pressure. The reason for this abrupt drop is a shift in the blood vessels or the heartbeat. Loss of awareness is caused by a shortage of blood in the brain. Most Fainting episodes are brief and harmless. Such a spell usually lasts only a few seconds, making the victim feel ill. Recovery might take several minutes. If a person does not recover soon, seek immediate medical assistance.

What are the causes of Fainting?

A sudden blood pressure drop is among the most frequentcauses of Fainting. A  transient reduction in blood pressure can be due to extended exposure to severe heat, which forces blood away from the main circulatory system and into skin vessels, extreme emotional discomfort (the sight of blood, the sight of a hypodermic needle, a sense of impending doom) or heart-related conditions.

  • Dehydration 

  • Constant standing

  • Prolonged bed rest

  • Severe blood loss

  • Seizures 

What are the symptoms of Fainting?

Before losing consciousness, a person may suffer dizziness, nausea, weakness, and/or impaired eyesight, as well as cold, clammy, pale skin. The person may be disoriented, incoherent, motionless, and silent. A collapse can occasionally be triggered by a more traumatic event, such as a stroke or a disruption in the regular cardiac rhythm. 

A faint might be a warning sign that something is amiss, and more investigation is sometimes required. If a person complains of shortness of breath, chest aches, or heart palpitations, or if their pulse is quicker or slower, hidden severe complications can be the cause. Slurred speech, facial droop, or limb weakness further indicate a major health condition.

Recommendation: Fainting might indicate a medical ailment such as a heart or brain disease. It's usually a good idea to consult your doctor, especially if you've never fainted before.

Who is in danger?

People who have the following medical disorders are more likely to faint.

  • Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)

  • Anaemia

  • Any condition characterised by a fast loss of blood, such as internal bleeding

  • Heart and circulation issues

  • Heat exhaustion or heat stroke

  • Eating problems (eg, anorexia and bulimia)

  • Toxic shock syndrome (TSS)

  • Furthermore, people who stand in one spot for an extended period, especially in hot weather, are prone to Fainting. 

  • Anxiety (e.g., unexpected stress or panic), extreme pain, abruptly altering bodily position (e.g., rising too quickly), and some drugs can also cause Fainting.

Emergency aid when a person faints

Unlike while asleep, someone who has fainted and is unconscious cannot cough, clear their throat, or move their head if in agony. When a person is unconscious, they are at risk of choking. Therefore, maintaining the airway open while waiting for medical attention is critical. 

If you find someone who is unconscious, check to determine if they are breathing. Call your local emergency services immediately, and prepare to start cardio-pulmonary resuscitation-CPR. CPR is a lifesaving method that may be used in various situations where someone's breathing or heartbeat has ceased; you can learn it too. 

If they're breathing, take measures to get them into the recovery posture. This assists them in maintaining a clean airway and reduces the chance of choking. In the case of a Fainting spell, try the following self-care techniques.

  1. If at all possible, attempt to keep someone who is Fainting from collapsing.

  2. Place the individual on the ground, face up, and raise their feet 8-12 inches.

  3. Remove any constricting garments.

  4. Apply a cold, damp compress to the individual's brow.

  5. Attempt to keep the individual from standing until they have fully recovered.

  6. If the individual vomits while unconscious, immediately turn them to the side.

  7. Suppose the person was hurt while Fainting; provide first assistance for any injuries (such as bumps, bruises, or cuts). Direct pressure should be used to halt bleeding.

  8. Call the emergency services if the individual does not regain consciousness promptly (e.g., within 5 minutes), is old, or has a medical concern. While unusual, Fainting can indicate a severe disease, so seek medical attention to discover the reason and offer appropriate treatment.

What not to do when a person faints

  • Do not attempt to feed anything to an unconscious individual by mouth.

  • Do not shake or hit someone who has fainted to wake them up.

Ways to prevent Fainting

Coma and brain damage are two potential consequences of being unconscious for an extended time. However, once a person identifies that they are likely to undergo a Fainting spell, prompt and appropriate steps can prevent it.

  • If you feel dizzy, keep calm and lie down with your legs slightly higher than your head. When moving, use caution and shift postures gently, especially when going from a laying or standing position.

  • Avoid resting on your back when pregnant, especially in the latter months, since the pressure of your enlarging uterus (womb) on your main blood arteries may cause you to feel faint.

  • Eating a nutritious diet and avoiding skipping meals might be beneficial. Drink plenty of clear fluids unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from doing so.

  • If you've fainted, you should avoid driving or using machinery until you've spoken with a healthcare expert.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some commonly asked questions on Fainting.


Is Fainting usually fatal?

Fainting is rarely dangerous, although it can occasionally suggest an underlying medical problem. Every Fainting episode should be addressed as a medical emergency until the reason, and symptoms are determined.

What is the prevalence of Fainting?

Fainting, also known as Syncope, is as frequent as it is frightening. It affects around one-third of the general population, and various factors might cause someone to pass out.

How long does a typical Fainting spell last?

A Fainting spell usually lasts only a few seconds. Loss of awareness is caused by a shortage of blood in the brain. Most Fainting episodes are brief and harmless. 

What occurs just before you pass out?

Before a simple faint, a person may experience symptoms such as a pale complexion, impaired vision, nausea, and sweat. Other symptoms include dizziness, coldness, or warmth. 

When should you be concerned about Fainting?

Fainting becomes more dangerous in people who have had a previous heart attack, have undergone heart surgery, or have heart disease or an abnormal heart rhythm. In some cases, Fainting might indicate a cardiac condition that has to be treated.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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