How to Treat Fainting: First Aid Treatment

Many of us have witnessed, or experienced, a fainting episode. So, what exactly causes someone to faint? Fainting occurs when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted. As a result, the brain does not receive enough oxygen or nutrients. This results in a temporary loss of consciousness, and the victim often falls to the floor. A victim of fainting usually recovers quickly once lying down, since being horizontal on the floor improves the blood supply to the brain, as the heart does not have to pump blood against gravity. There are many different causes of fainting, and normally a victim will recover without any problems. Sometimes, recurrent fainting (especially during exercise) can be a sign of a more serious underlying heart condition and will require a checkup from a medical professional. In addition, victims of fainting can sustain serious injuries when they fall to the floor, especially if they are elderly. Always seek medical attention if you are concerned a victim is injured following a fainting episode.

Medical Terminology

The medical term for fainting is syncope.

Causes of Fainting

◾ Environmental trigger: unpleasant sight or smell or excessive heat

◾ Medication use

◾ Dehydration

◾ Abnormal heartbeat

◾ Underlying heart problem

Signs and Symptoms of Fainting

◾ Temporary loss of consciousness followed by a quick recovery

◾ Feeling weak, light-headed, or sick

◾ Pale, gray skin

◾ Sweating

◾ Presence of an external trigger that caused the faint (for example, the sight of blood from a nosebleed)

First Aid Treatment for Fainting

1. If a victim feels he is going to faint, advise him to lie or sit down as quickly as possible.

2. If he loses consciousness, raise his legs to improve blood flow to the brain.

3. The victim should quickly recover. If he does not, ensure the airway is open and he is breathing normally.

4. Check for any injuries if the victim has fallen.

5. Monitor vital signs and provide reassurance until the episode resolves. If you are concerned that the victim is not recovering, or the victim has sustained an injury, call EMS.

6. Advise the victim to seek medical attention to investigate the underlying cause.