Fainting, or suffering a syncope, is a frightening experience for anyone. Fainting is usually a result of lack of circulation in the brain, which causes loss of consciousness. Everyone can pass out at one time or another, and it's a good idea to take certain precautions to keep yourself safe during an episode. If you notice any of the early signs of fainting, sit or lie down immediately. Seek medical help when recovering from a fainting episode so that you can determine a treatment plan.
Method 1 of 3: Taking Action on First Symptoms
Step 1. Watch out for dizziness
You will likely experience dizziness, mild or severe, just before you faint. This is a strong sign that your circulatory system is not functioning normally. As soon as you feel dizzy, stop what you are doing and sit or lie down.
Step 2. Observe changes in vision and hearing
In the minutes before fainting, your senses are likely to be impaired. You may suffer from tunnel vision, the feeling where it feels like your eyesight is closing and losing focus, and only see blurs or smudges. Also, you will probably hear ringing right in your ear.
Other symptoms include: numbness of the face and limbs, intense feeling of anxiety, sudden stomach pain or nausea, paleness and a cold sweat
Step 3. Sit or lie down immediately
When experiencing any symptoms associated with fainting, the ideal is to bend down as quickly as possible. Fainting is very dangerous, mainly because of the fall associated with loss of consciousness. It is best to lie down on your back or on your side, but if that is not possible, sit down.
- At bedtime, you place your head at heart level and promote normalization of circulation to the brain. If you're pregnant, lie down on your left side so you don't put so much strain on your heart.
- If you are in a crowded and busy place, it will be difficult to lie down. In these cases, sit down and place your head between your legs to promote blood circulation towards the head.
Step 4. Make some space
If you're in a busy place, lean against a wall and brace yourself. If necessary, sit against the wall. Staying close to a wall will prevent others from tripping or stepping on you. Get away from the crowd to lower your temperature and make breathing easier.
Step 5. Try to fall towards a wall
If it's too late to lie down in a controlled manner, you should at least try to direct the fall. As you begin to lose consciousness, strive to lean your body toward a wall, if there is one nearby. That way you'll slide down the wall instead of falling free.
You can also try bending your knees to get closer to the ground and smooth your fall
Step 6. Be very careful on the stairs
If you're on a ladder when symptoms start, try approaching the outside handrail, the one connected to the wall. Sit on a step or, if you are near the bottom of the stairs, finish down to sit on the floor.
If you think you're going to pass out before you can sit up, try your best to grip the handrail firmly. Thus, you can direct the fall even if unconsciously. In the worst case, supporting your body on the wall handrail will slow the fall and turn it into a controlled descent
Step 7. Ask someone nearby for help
If your voice isn't working, wave your hands in the air and move your mouth to say "Help." Be careful when walking towards someone for help, as you may fall halfway.
- If anyone is around at the time of symptoms, say something like "Help! I'm going to pass out!" or "Can you help me? I think I'm going to pass out!" Don't be shy about approaching strangers who can help you.
- If you're lucky enough to get help, the other person should start by putting you down if you're not already seated. If you fall and get injured, the person should apply pressure to the possible bleeding and call an ambulance.
- The person should also remove any item of clothing that is impairing blood circulation to the head, such as a tie. Your airway should be clear, and if you start to vomit, the person should turn you on your side. It is also important that she check your breathing, even if you are unconscious.
Method 2 of 3: Recovering after a faint
Step 1. Stay on the ground for a while longer
Don't rush to get up as the body needs time to recover. Remain lying down or sitting for at least ten minutes. If you get up too early, you risk passing out again.
Step 2. Raise your feet if you can
The simplest fainting episodes are usually resolved by raising the feet and legs. While on the floor, see if you can lift your feet above your head. If not, any elevation will help. If you are lying down, try putting something under your feet to improve blood flow to your head and speed recovery.
Step 3. Take a deep breath
While you are waiting to be able to get up, inhale deeply through your nose until your lungs are completely filled. Then slowly release air through your mouth. If you are in a warm place, monitor your breathing until you can walk to a less stuffy place.
Step 4. Drink lots of fluids
Dehydration is a common cause of fainting. If you want to prevent a future episode, drink plenty of water as soon as you get up and for the rest of the day. Do not consume alcohol after you pass out as it will only dehydrate you further.
Step 5. Eat several small meals throughout the day
Eating more often and not skipping any meals can prevent fainting. Instead of two or three large meals, try eating five or six small meals.
Step 6. Don't drink anything with alcohol
Alcoholic beverages can increase the risk of fainting, and it is best to avoid them if you are already prone to fainting. If you want to drink, do so in moderation, having a maximum of two drinks a day if you are a man and one drink a day if you are a woman or man over 65 years of age.
Step 7. Be aware of the medications you take
Many medications have dizziness and fainting as side effects. If you take prescription drugs, talk to your doctor to find out if any of them can cause you to faint. Some high blood pressure medications can be taken at bedtime to prevent syncope.
Step 8. Take it easy for the rest of the day
Remember that the body needs a little time to recover and rest. Walk slowly and carefully and avoid exercising for the next 24 hours at least. Minimize stress by rescheduling important appointments for the next day.
Do something relaxing, like take a bath or sit on the couch to watch a movie
Step 9. Call 911 if necessary
If you wake up from fainting and still feel pain and shortness of breath, call 911 immediately, as these are signs of more serious health problems that will need to be evaluated by professionals.
Method 3 of 3: Protecting Yourself in the Future
Step 1. Talk to a doctor
It doesn't matter if the fainting happened once or more, it's always good to talk to a professional about what happened. He or she must decide whether you need any treatment or medication, and you will be more comfortable with an expert opinion. Your doctor will likely ask you to look out for other specific signs, such as intense thirst.
- The doctor may order blood tests to assess the levels of glucose and nutrients in the body, and rule out anemia and heart problems. Exams are simple and standard.
- Your doctor may also ask you to restrict some activities until you can establish and treat the cause of your fainting. In general, avoid driving and operating heavy or complex machinery.
- It might be helpful to take a brief statement from someone who witnessed the faint, after all, you were unconscious and won't be able to tell you exactly what happened during the episode.
Step 2. Take preventive measures
It is possible that your doctor will prescribe medication to treat you and prevent future fainting. Medicines usually address the underlying causes of fainting. For example, corticosteroids help boost the body's hydration by raising sodium levels.
Follow the doctor's instructions to the letter. If you don't take the medication correctly, it is possible that the fainting will get worse
Step 3. Stay hydrated and nourished
This is general advice, but even more important for anyone who has suffered from fainting. Always carry snacks rich in sugar and salt with you, such as a bag of nuts and a box of fruit juice. That way you avoid hypoglycemia, a common cause of fainting.
Step 4. Take supplements
Focus on substances that will improve circulation and your heart health. Omega-3 supplements are excellent for minimizing inflammation and improving blood circulation. You can also try natural remedies like green tea, also highly recommended for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Discuss any supplements and natural medications you are taking with your doctor, as some may interfere with your doctor's prescription drugs or have problematic side effects
Step 5. Take a medical ID card with you
Talk to your doctor or order a card online that includes your name, your existing health conditions (including allergies) and some contact information. This is an excellent option for those who suffer from frequent fainting or plan to travel.
Step 6. Use relaxation techniques
Fainting can also be caused by stress and other emotional events. Learn to control your body with deep breathing techniques and practicing meditation or yoga. Some practitioners also recommend hypnosis to regulate blood pressure and control stress levels.
Step 7. Wear elastic socks
They can help with circulation from the legs to the heart and head. Avoid straps and other parts that compress the legs and impair the venous return.
Step 8. Change positions slowly
Getting up too fast can cause fainting, so try to make a gradual transition between positions.
For example, sit on the edge of the bed before getting up
Step 9. Keep the blood circulating
Flex your leg muscles and move your toes when sitting or standing for a long time. Doing so will promote circulation, putting less strain on the heart. A simple lateral movement can help when you have to stand up for a long time.
You can also wear pressure socks that encourage blood flow from the extremities to the torso
Step 10. Avoid situations that cause fainting
Whenever you pass out, try to think about what might have caused the problem. Maybe you can't see blood or you have sweating problems. For some people, standing for too long can be the cause of fainting. Talk to a doctor to find what causes syncope and avoid such situations.
- There is no routine checkup specifically recommended for those who have frequent fainting spells. Still, your doctor may order an EKG to rule out heart problems.
- Your doctor may also order blood tests to assess your blood glucose, electrolytes, hemoglobin, and thyroid function.
- Sleep with your head elevated.
- Exercise to improve your fitness.
- If you are in class while you pass out, alert a teacher to call the school nurse.
- Fainting can be caused by rapid changes in position. Instead of quickly getting out of bed, for example, sit on the edge of the bed for a few seconds.