When someone passes out, it can be a scary experience. You may need to figure out what to do or how to help. While every situation is different, you can take some general steps to help the person until they wake up or professional help arrives. Keep reading for more information on what to do when someone passes out.
Should I Be Worried if I Faint?
Fainting usually happens because of an abrupt drop in blood pressure. Reasons for blood pressure drops can be mild or serious. A fall in blood pressure can be caused by bleeding internal bleeding. Various heart disorders can also cause an abrupt drop in blood pressure.
A common condition resulting in fainting is known as vasovagal syncope. It can happen if you strain when having a bowel movement, getting blood drawn, getting an injection, hearing bad news, or even laughing too hard. Often, it can be triggered by the vagus nerve, which temporarily lowers both heart rate and blood pressure. These fainting episodes are more common in young people but can also occur in older persons. Before fainting from vasovagal syncope, a person may feel queasy or break out in a cold sweat. (Harvard Health)
If your blood pressure decreases while standing, you may lose consciousness for a brief moment. This condition is known as orthostatic hypotension, caused by gravity temporarily drawing blood into your veins.
Patients Over the Age of 50
Patients aged 50 and up are frequently admitted for testing as the serious reasons for fainting grow increasingly common in the elderly. A team of Yale University geriatric specialists has actively examined dizziness and even hypothesized that it is a “Geriatric Syndrome” that can be induced by various factors. Dizziness that precedes fainting can be caused by multiple medical conditions, including neurological disorders related to brain blood flow, and heart abnormalities.
Many people, particularly the elderly, experience lightheadedness when they stand up too quickly from a lying or seated position. Heart problems with aging (such as an abnormal heart rhythm or a heart attack), stroke, and a severe drop in blood pressure are more serious conditions that can cause shock. If you have any of these serious disorders, you will usually have additional symptoms such as chest pain, a racing heart, loss of speech, changes in vision, or other symptoms. (MUSC Health)
What to Do When Someone Passes Out?
Sit or lie down if you start to feel faint. Put your head between your legs if you’re sitting. Don’t stand up too quickly to reduce your probability of fainting again.
Put someone else on their back if they faint. Lift the person’s legs above heart level, preferably by 12 inches (30 centimeters), if there are no wounds and they are still breathing. Belts, collars, and other constrictive clothing should be adjusted. Don’t get them up too soon if you don’t want to risk them fainting again. If the person has not regained consciousness within a minute, call 911. Check their breathing. If they aren’t breathing, start CPR. (Mayo Clinic)
The primary message is that if you faint or have dizziness frequently, you should get medical help. Note any symptoms you can remember having either before or after losing consciousness. Anybody who may have observed you collapse should be questioned about what they saw. A doctor can better help you aided by details surrounding the incident.
Fainting can happen at any time under various circumstances. Knowing how to recover and what to do in an emergency situation can save lives.
Mayo Clinic. “Fainting: First Aid.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Feb. 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-fainting/basics/art-20056606#:~:text=This%20loss%20of%20consciousness%20is,and%20the%20cause%20is%20known.
Harvard Health. “When Should You Worry about Fainting?” Harvard Health, 1 Feb. 2022, www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/when-should-you-worry-about-fainting.
MUSC Health . “Dizziness.” Occasional Dizziness Is a Common Problem | MUSC Health | Charleston SC, muschealth.org/medical-services/geriatrics-and-aging/healthy-aging/dizziness.