To function properly our brains rely on a continual flow of oxygen which is carried in our blood. When this blood flow is temporarily reduced you may feel a little dizzy sick or just odd and if it is reduced for long enough you may actually faint.
Fainting is a short-term loss of consciousness and some people are more prone to fainting than others. There are potentially many reasons why someone may faint and these include: – anxiety – hunger – pregnancy – stress – tiredness – pain – being too hot – or long periods of standing or sitting still which causes the blood to pool in the legs reducing the amount of blood reaching the brain.
If someone thinks they are about to faint help them to lie down immediately, as this will help to restore blood flow to the brain. It is not advisable to ask them to just sit down as fainting whilst leaning forwards risks them falling and hurting themselves further. If you are indoors ask someone to open a window as fresh air may help them to recover.
When someone has fainted lay them on their back and raise their legs by about thirty centimetres. Keep them supported either by resting their legs on your shoulder or by using a box bag or some other object to support them. This will improve the flow of blood to their brain and they will normally recover quite quickly. As they are starting to recover calmly tell them what has happened as they may be confused or disorientated. When they are feeling ok help them to get up in stages as standing up too quickly may cause them to faint again if they do feel faint while getting up get them to lie down again and raise their legs until they fully recover.
If they do not regain consciousness quickly, open their airway and check for breathing then follow the process of treating an unconscious casualty. It is not necessary to ring for the emergency services unless the person has fallen and hurt themselves or does not regain consciousness, however it may be prudent to call a family member or friend to escort them home. If the casualty is in the late stage of pregnancy they should lay leaning towards their left side as this will help to prevent restriction of blood flow back to the heart.
Regular fainting may be due to an underlying health concern so should fainting occur often or if you are at all concerned it may be best to speak to a doctor. If someone faints during exercise or has a seizure after fainting you should always alert the EMS.