A faint is a brief loss of consciousness caused by a temporary reduction of the blood flow to the brain. It may be a reaction to pain, exhaustion, lack of food or emotional stress. Fainting is also common after long periods of physical inactivity, such as standing or sitting still, especially in a warm atmosphere. This inactivity causes blood to pool in the legs, reducing the amount of blood reaching the brain.
- Brief loss of consciousness that causes the casualty to fall to the ground
- A slow pulse
- Pale, cold skin and sweating
- To improve blood flow to the brain
- To reassure the casualty and make him comfortable
When a person faints, the pulse rate becomes very slow. However, the rate soon picks up and returns to normal. A casualty who has fainted usually makes a rapid and complete recovery. Do not advise a person who feels faint to sit on a chair with his head between his knees because if he faints he may fall and injure himself. If the casualty is a woman in the late stage of pregnancy, help her to lie down so that she is leaning towards her left side to prevent the pregnant uterus restricting blood flow back to her heart.
If the casualty does not regain consciousness, quickly open the airway and check breathing.
- When a casualty feels faint, advise him to lie down. Kneel down, raise his legs, supporting his ankles on your shoulders to improve blood flow to the brain. Watch his face for signs of recovery.
- Make sure that the casualty has plenty of fresh air; ask someone to open a window if you are indoors. In addition, ask any bystanders to stand clear.
- As the casualty recovers, reassure him and help him to sit up gradually. If he starts to feel faint again, advise him to lie down once again, and raise and support his legs until he recovers fully.