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First Aid: Fainting

Fainting (or "passing out") is a temporary loss of consciousness that usually happens because not enough blood is going to the brain due to a drop in blood pressure. Blood pressure can drop from dehydration, standing up too quickly, standing or sitting still for a long period, or a sudden fear of something (such as the sight of blood). Fainting also can happen from low blood sugar, especially in people with diabetes or if someone hasn't eaten in a while.

It's important to get medical care to figure out what brought on the fainting episode and help prevent it from happening again.

First Aid

Signs and Symptoms

Someone who is about to faint might have:

What to Do

Whether your child is about to faint or has fainted:

  • Loosen tight clothing.
  • Make sure the area is well-ventilated.
  • Check that your child is OK, and don't let them stand or walk until they feel much better.

If your child seems about to faint:

  • Have them lie down or sit down with their head between their knees.

If your child has fainted:

  • Have them lie flat with their feet slightly raised. Don't move your child if you think the fall might have caused an injury.

Contact your child's doctor about any fainting episode.

Get Emergency Medical Care if Your Child:

  • fell and may be hurt
  • is having trouble breathing
  • is having trouble speaking, seeing, or moving
  • has chest pain, or a rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • is having a seizure
  • was physically active when it happened

Think Prevention!

Make sure kids:

  • drink plenty of fluids, especially in hot weather or during physical activity
  • eat regular meals and snacks to avoid low blood sugar
  • take frequent breaks and move around as much as possible when sitting or standing for long periods of time
  • slowly breathe into a paper bag when they are anxious and breathing too fast
  • avoid overheated, cramped, or stuffy environments

Reviewed by: Melanie L. Pitone, MD
Date Reviewed: 01-07-2022

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