How do I treat someone who has fainted?

What is a faint?

Fainting is  a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness which results in the casualty falling. It happens when the blood flow to the brain is reduced. The brain requires a lot of oxygen to keep it functioning and any reduction in blood flow to the brain will result in fainting. Usually  someone will recover from a faint quickly, as once the casualty has fallen over blood flow to the brain is restored.

Causes of faints

A variety of factors can cause fainting, including:

  • pain
  • fright
  • emotional stress
  • lack of food
  • long periods of standing still
  • heat exhaustion
  • early stages of pregnancy


Symptoms of impending fainting include:

  • dizziness
  • feeling odd
  • sweatiness
  • nausea
  • blurred vision


If someone feels faint the best thing to do is to help them lie down and gently elevate their feet. This encourages blood flow to return to their brain. Loosen tight clothing at the neck If someone has not regained consciousness within 2 minutes then place them on their side in the recovery position to maintain their airway and dial 999 or 112. Stay with the person until help arrives.

Most faints are very short lived and don’t need further medical attention, if however faints are occurring regularly then professional medical attention needs to be sought.