One minute youâ??re both walking through the park without a care, the next minute your friend is lying on the ground unconscious. Fainting is caused when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily inadequate. The cause may be any number of things ranging from dehydration to a serious heart condition.
But more importantly, what do you do next?
If the person is collapsing, try to catch them and help them to the ground
When people faint, they are unable to protect themselves with their hands when they fall. Preventing them from hitting the ground will protect them from a head injury.
If a person feels dizzy or light headed, have them sit or lie down immediately to prevent fainting.
If you come across someone who is unconscious, assess the surroundings to secure the area before you approach them. The person may be down because of trauma from fumes, fallen power lines, or a traffic collision. The last thing you need in a situation like that is a second victim.
Assess the victim
Check their airway, breathing and circulation. If necessary start rescue breathing and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before calling an ambulance. If the victim has a pulse and is breathing, continue to help by elevating their legs. This will increase circulation to the brain.
Try to arouse the victim by tapping on the shoulder and asking them a question
If the victim doesnâ??t regain consciousness in five minutes, has symptoms of a headache, seizure, numbness or tingling, chest pain, trouble breathing, or is drifting in and out of consciousness, the ambulance should be called. These are all possible signs of a life threatening emergency. Never put any food or drink into an unconscious personâ??s mouth. This may cause choking.
Try and think of any pre-existing conditions
Pre-existing medical conditions such as hypoglycaemia, severe allergies, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart abnormalities or epilepsy often cause fainting. If this is the case, call the ambulance immediately.
Stay calm and reassure the victim
Staying composed and in control of the situation can make all the difference to the welfare of the victim. The last thing the victim needs right now, is for people around him/her to panic.
Give the person room to breathe, and fan the victim with fresh air
If fainting happens in a public place, crowds often gather around to see what happened. Ask them to stand back unless they are actually helping the situation.
Give the person water and/or food once they are conscious and stable to help revive them
Dehydration and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) are common causes of fainting.
Donâ??t let the person get up too quickly
Once the person has regained consciousness, make sure they can stand and walk. Many people get up too soon after fainting. This often leads to another fall, so keep them off their feet until they are fully recovered. On no account move the victim should a spinal injury be suspected.
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