Mini First Aid Guide: Seizures, Fainting, and Choking


Not to be confused with a seizure attack. Fainting is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness that usually results in a fall. Fainting is caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure (hypotension), which results in less blood flow to the brain [3].

Heat, emotional distress or pain can cause a faint. Other triggers include standing for a long time, the sight of blood or an alarming event. Most fainting will pass quickly and won’t be serious. Usually, a fainting episode will only last a few seconds, although it will make the person feel unwell and recovery may take several minutes. If a person doesn’t recover quickly, always seek urgent medical attention.

Symptoms of fainting

Just before you faint you may have warnings signs like:

  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • A pale face
  • Sweating
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Blurred or faded vision
  • Anxiety and restlessness

What to do if you feel faint?

While a faint can be alarming, most causes are harmless and the problem goes away on its own [4].

If you feel a faint coming on:-

  • Lie down with your feet higher than your head.
  • Remain in the position for about 10 minutes or until you feel better.
  • Have a glass of water.
  • Get some fresh air.

If you faint again and are over 60 years of age or have a history of heart problems you must see a doctor immediately [4].

If you do faint, remain to lie down until you feel comfortable to sit up. Then sit up slowly when you feel comfortable to do so. After fainting, you may feel confused and weak for about 20-30 minutes. You may also feel tired and not be able to remember what you were doing just before you fainted.

This is how you can help someone who has fainted

  • Help the person lie down. A person who has fainted in a chair should be helped to the ground.
  • If the person is unconscious, roll them on their side. Check their breathing and if they have a pulse.
  • If possible, elevate the person’s feet above the height of their head. You can easily do this with a chair.
  • If the fainting episode was brought on by heat, remove or loosen clothes, and try to cool the person down by wiping them with a wet cloth or fanning them.
  • Assess the person for any potential injuries if they fell.

Contact Emergency Medical care if:

If a person faints and doesn’t regain consciousness within one or two minutes, put them into the recovery position by:

  • Placing them on their side
  • Open their airway by tilting their head back and lifting their chin to monitor their breathing and pulse continuously

If a person experiences repeated episodes of fainting, it’s important for a healthcare professional to investigate the cause. Fainting can sometimes be mistaken for a serious medical condition like a stroke. It is important to be able to distinguish one from the other.

You might also want to read about Improving Athletic Performance.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thando W. Dlamini, BA

Sport Development and Exercise Science Practitioner

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate Site »