First Aid for Fainting Do's and Dont's
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
- massive bleeding
- coughing very hard
- straining during a bowel movement
Symptoms of fainting
- blurred vision/closed eyes
- 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.