First Aid Fainting

Common situations in which fainting might occur include

  • a traumatic or anxiety-provoking situation – such as having blood drawn or witnessing an alarming event
  • standing for long periods of time with the knees locked, especially on a hot day
  • an acute illness, especially when there has been loss of fluid through vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • standing up suddenly after lying down or squatting, especially when a person is hot or mildly dehydrated
  • standing in a hot, crowded area where there is little fresh air

Fainting Symptoms

Warning signs for fainting include the following:

  • paleness in the face
  • cold, clammy skin
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • blurred vision
  • unusually rapid or slow pulse
  • feelings of anxiety or panic
  • numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes

Fainting Treatment

If you notice these warning signs or your child feels that she is about to pass out, have her lie down immediately and, if possible, elevate her feet. Do not allow her to stay upright because this can deprive her brain of needed oxygen. If she loses consciousness:

  • Lay the child on the floor on her back.
  • Make sure that her airway is clear and that she is breathing. Loosen any clothing to make certain she is comfortable and able to breathe easily.
  • If you are inside a building, open the windows to circulate fresh air.
  • If your child vomits while unconscious, turn her head to the side and wipe out her mouth.
  • Keep the chin up to prevent the tongue from obstructing her throat
  • If the child remains unconscious for five minutes or longer or if she displays any unusual movements or behavior during or after the episode, call for medical help.

If the episode passes within 15 minutes, emergency medical attention may not be necessary. However, fainting may be a sign of a more significant condition (for example, anemia or pregnancy). If your child has fainted for no apparent reason or has repeated fainting episodes, contact her physician for further advice. In addition, a sudden loss of consciousness without any of the symptoms described above is not likely to be a fainting episode and should be evaluated immediately.