Fainting is a term used to describe a condition where there is a sudden and brief loss of consciousness.

The loss of consciousness is usually brief and can be caused by:

  • Standing for long periods
  • Emotional events
  • Pain
  • Standing up quickly
  • Some medications such as angina medications
  • Heat
  • Sight of blood or needles etc

After the patient collapses the blood flow returns to the brain quickly and the patient usually recovers rapidly.


  • Lightheaded/ dizziness
  • Pale, cold moist skin
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Slow weak pulse
  • Collapse with temporary loss of consciousness.

Management of fainting

  • D.R.S.A.B.C.D.
  • If conscious: Assist patient to lie down, raise legs and keep the head and upper body flat.
  • Loosen any tight clothing.
  • Ensure an adequate supply of fresh air.
  • Assess and treat any further injuries.
  • If unconscious: DRSABCD
  • If patient does not recover quickly seek urgent medical support.

Note: DO NOT sit a casualty on a chair with their head between their knees. This can reduce the amount of blood being supplied to the brain and can restrict breathing, slowing recovery.