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First Aid for Fainting Do's and Dont's

Updated on April 1, 2015
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Fainting is a sudden brief interruption of the blood supply to the brain, so that the blood flows again within a minute or less. This may be brief and inconsequential, or it may be a critical condition requiring immediate hospitalization. Some people faint rather frequently. The person who faints may fall and injure himself.

Faint can sometimes be due to temporary lack of fresh air. The feeling of faintness will occur within one-half to two seconds if the person is standing, and fainting will follow in three seconds. If the person happens to be lying down when this occurs, the fainting may not occur before 5 seconds. The average blood pressure may range from 120-140 but may drop to much lower levels without causing fainting.

Causes of fainting

  • temporary low blood pressure
  • heart attack
  • low blood sugar
  • dehydration
  • hyperventilation
  • massive bleeding
  • poisoning
  • vertigo
  • coughing very hard
  • straining during a bowel movement


Symptoms of fainting

  • light-headedness
  • drowsiness
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • headache
  • stupor
  • blurred vision/closed eyes
  • disoriented/incoherent
  • rapid breathing (palpitation)
  • cold, clammy, pale skin

If the person is semi-unconscious (awake but less alert than usual), ask a few simple questions, such as:

  • What is your name?
  • How old are you?
  • What is the date today?
  • Where do you live?

Inability to answer the question or wrong answers suggest a change in mental status.

Warning: What not to do

  • Do not try to move the unconscious person to a sitting position.

  • Do not give an unconscious person any food or drink.
  • Do not slap his face or douse him with cold water.
  • Do not place pillow under the head of an unconscious person.


What to do when someone faints

  • If you see a person fainting, try to prevent a fall.
  • Place person in a lying-down position with face up and head at body level
  • Elevate legs to slightly above level of rest of the body. (Use pillow, coat, blanket, etc.)
  • Loosen collar or any tight clothing that might interfere with breathing.
  • The most important thing to do for anyone who is unconscious is to make sure that his air passages are unobstructed.
  • If he appears to have swallowed his tongue, insert your fingers into his mouth and pull it forward.
  • If no injuries have been sustained, move the victim so that his head on one side with his tongue falling forward, so that any vomitus or saliva can dribble out of his mouth instead of being inhaled into his lungs.
  • If breathing is shallow or stops, apply mouth-to-mouth method of artificial respiration.
  • Keep in lying-down position at least 15 minutes after regaining consciousness.
  • if patient has merely had dizziness, or vertigo, do not permit him to arise until the symptoms have completely disappeared.
  • Keep the person warm until medical help arrives.
  • If recovery does not follow, call an ambulance.

How to prevent fainting

  • Get enough fluid, particularly in warm weather.
  • If you feel like you are about to faint, lie down or sit down with your head bent forward between your knees.
  • Avoid standing for too long without moving if you are prone to fainting.


Fainting is most likely to occur when the person is in the upright position. In many instances, just lying down will revive the person.

First Aid for Fainting Video Additional Information

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  • billips profile image

    billips 5 years ago from Central Texas

    A very useful hub - everyone should learn first aid - B.

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    Hi, beth, you are very welcome. And it IS the truth. All of it. My parents raised me to NEVER waste two things: Time and Words. I am so glad to have met you on hubs and look forward to reading more of your excellent materials. KENNETH

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 5 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Hi, Kenneth

    I am glad and humbled by your appreciation. So thank you very much:)

  • kenneth avery profile image

    Kenneth Avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

    November 29, 2011

    Hello, Beth811,

    GREAT read! Amazing presentation. Voted up, useful and interesting, for your earned it. I love your writing style and I am now honored to FOLLOW you. Please keep up the great work and I Invite YOU to check out my hubs, that is if you need a good laugh. And I would love for you to be a follower. That would make my day. Highest Regards, Kenneth Avery, from Hamilton, a small (but proud) town in northwest Alabama that reminds you of Mayberry, that sweet town we loved on The Andy Griffith Show. Much Peace and Success to you!

    PS everyone, like me, who is not educated on people fainting, NEED to read this. This is TEXT-PERFECT.

  • scott33thomas profile image

    Manuel Porras 5 years ago from Germany, Colombia, USA, Panama, Mexico, Spain

    sometimes we do not know how to act in a situation where someone needs first aid

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    @ zzron - Certainly true! Everyone must learn the first aid basics to help save lives in the nick of time before medical help arrives.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • zzron profile image

    zzron 6 years ago from Houston, TX.

    Very good info, everyone needs to know this. Thanks for shareing.

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    @ eudociadavis & Fiddy - Thank you guys for commenting.

  • profile image

    Fiddy 6 years ago

    what a good information!!

  • profile image

    eudociadavis 6 years ago

    Lovely hub,Great information to handle faint people,

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    yenajeon - Glad you found this useful. Thank you so much for rating up.

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    @ Entourage - Probably it was your long standing, which had been exacerbated by candle sniffing, must have been the cause of your fainting.

    I didn't know that candle sniffing would help one to stop sneezing. This is something new to me:)

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Your comment here is much appreciated.

  • yenajeon profile image

    yenajeon 6 years ago from California

    This is very useful information. Thanks! Rated up!

  • Entourage_007 profile image

    Stuart 6 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

    This article was very helpful. I have only fainted once and it was rather silly I must say. I was holding a candle for church and there was a really long reading for Palm Sunday. I had to stand for the entire reading and every time I needed to sneeze, I would sniff the candle because it would help me stop sneezing. After about two whiffs of doing that - I got dizzy and fainted.

  • profile image

    jessie 6 years ago

    nice info

  • C_Pinto profile image

    C_Pinto 6 years ago from USA

    Great tips! I thank you for sharing something so relevant that everybody should now about.

  • profile image

    ed burns 6 years ago

    This hub is truly useful as people faint many a times in front of our eyes and we would not able to give first aid.So good hub it gives cool ideas about the fainting first aid.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

    Very good information on what causes fainting and how to treat it. Thanks so much Pam.

  • beth811 profile image
    Author

    beth811 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

    Thanks for visiting, Pamela

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

    Excellent hub to know what to do in an emergency and to recognize causes and symptoms of fainting.

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