What is fainting and why does it happen?
Fainting occurs when there is insufficient blood supply to the brain, causing the person to become unresponsive for a limited period of time. Pain, tiredness, hunger, mental stress or low blood pressure can all cause someone to pass out. When someone faints, their pulse slows down, but usually it quickly recovers and returns to normal. If someone has fainted and is still unconscious after a few minutes, it could be more serious.
What are the signs and symptoms of someone fainting?
These may include:
- a brief period of unresponsiveness, often causing them to fall to the ground
- slow pulse
- pale, cool skin
What to do if you see someone faint
- Ask them to lie down.
- Check for other injuries. They may have hurt themselves falling down, so look for head injuries and any other wounds. Treat as appropriate.
- Kneel next to them and raise their legs, supporting their ankles on your shoulders to help blood flow back to the brain.
- Make sure that they have plenty of fresh air. Ask other people to move away and if you’re inside then ask someone to open a window.
- Reassure the casualty and help them to sit up slowly.
- If they begin to feel faint again, lie them down again.
- If they stay unresponsive, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who is unresponsive. Dial 999 for an ambulance. Reassess the casualty frequently.