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Fainting is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness that usually results in a fall. Healthcare professionals often use the term ‘syncope’ when referring to fainting because it distinguishes fainting from other causes of temporary unconsciousness, such as seizures (fits) or concussion.

In most cases of fainting, the person who has fainted regains consciousness within a minute or two.

Causes of fainting:

  • → Standing still for a long time
  • → Emotional stress
  • → Over heating
  • → Low blood pressure
  • → Dehydration
  • → Being generally unwell
  • → Diarrhoea & vomiting


Just before fainting they may have the following symptoms:

  • → Yawning
  • → A sudden, clammy sweat
  • → Nausea (feeling sick)
  • → Fast, deep breathing
  • → Confusion
  • → Feeling light-headed
  • → Blurred vision or spots in front of your eyes
  • → Ringing in your ears

Once the person has collapsed the head is on the same level as the heart, this corrects the temporary lack of blood to the brain and results in the person regaining consciousness quickly.


If you feel faint, someone complains of feeling faint, they should lie down and if possible raise the legs a little.  If it’s not possible to lie down then sitting down with the head between the knees will help. You can assist a person to the floor or into a chair.

If a person faints and does not regain consciousness within one or two minutes, you should put them into the recovery position. If the person faints and hurt themselves or doesn’t seem to be improving you should monitor their condition and ring 999 for an ambulance.

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