Fainting is a term used to describe a condition of a sudden and brief loss of consciousness, with the potential for a full recovery.

The loss of consciousness is usually brief and can be caused from such reasons as:

  • Standing for long periods
  • Emotional events
  • Pain
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • 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.


  • Light headed/dizziness
  • Pale, cold moist skin
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Slow weak pulse
  • Collapse; temporary loss of consciousness

Management of fainting

  • D.R.S.A.B.C.D.
  • Assist patient to lie down with legs raised
  • Loosen any tight clothing
  • Ensure an adequate supply of fresh air
  • Assess and treat any further injuries
  • Place any unconscious patients into the recovery position and follow the basic life support flow chart
  • If patient does not recover quickly seek urgent medical attention

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