Sometimes people faint if there is not enough blood flowing to the brain. Find out what could cause fainting, and what to do.
If someone faints:
- Lay them down.
- Kneel by them.
- Raise their legs.
- Give them fresh air and monitor them.
- If slow to recover, treat as unresponsive.
What is fainting and what causes it?
Fainting is when someone briefly becomes unresponsive, often causing them to fall to the ground. It happens because for a moment, there is not enough blood flowing to the brain.
People often faint as a reaction to pain, exhaustion, hunger, or emotional stress. It is also common for people to faint after they have been standing or sitting still for a long period of time, especially if they’re feeling hot.
Signs and symptoms
What to look for:
- There may be a brief loss of response, often causing them to fall to the ground
- They may have a slow pulse
- They may have pale, cold skin and sweating
What to do
- Advise them to lie down
- If possible, elevate their legs slightly using a stool, cushions or pillows. Make sure they get plenty of fresh air and ask other people to stand back
- Reassure them and help them to sit up slowly over a few minutes, when they feel better
- If they stay unresponsive, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who is unresponsive
Related first aid advice
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Use the primary survey to quickly assess the situation and check the casualty for injuries or conditions that could be immediately life threatening. Find out what to do.
How to do CPR on an adult
If an adult is unresponsive and not breathing normally, you need to call 999 or 112 for emergency help and start CPR straight away. Learn what to do.
Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of salt and water, usually through excessive sweating. Find out what to look for and what to do.
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