What to Do If You're Feeling Faint

Would you know what to do if you suddenly felt dizzy and lightheaded? Would you know how to care for someone else? Learn the right response and how to prevent a fainting spell.

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Why You Faint

Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness due to a loss of blood supply to the brain. The heart is continuously pumping blood to your brain, delivering oxygen. If for some reason your heart stops pumping oxygen to your brain, you’ll start getting woozy or cloudy in about 3 to 5 seconds. Then, all of a sudden, you’ve fainted.

What Are Some Causes of Fainting

Activities that cause a rapid rise and subsequent drop in blood pressure can cause a fainting spell. Coughing forcefully, straining in the bathroom, standing up suddenly, and being in a hot crowded room can cause you to faint.

Prevent Fainting

You can help prevent a fainting spell by raising your blood pressure. Tensing your muscles is one method of raising your blood pressure. For example, squeeze a ball, tense your thighs or cross your legs.

One popular myth is that you should splash your face with water. In reality, the best thing to do is lie down. When you are standing or sitting, blood rushes from your head down to your legs. Lying down helps to even out blood flow. 

If you feel faint or lightheaded, lie down and prop your feet about 1 foot above your heart. The blood will rush from your feet to your head, keeping oxygen flowing to your brain. Lying down can also help prevent head injuries from falling down when you faint.

When to Worry

If you have a period where you are feeling consistently lightheaded and about to faint, contact a professional. It may be a warning sign of something more serious, such as heart disease. 

Click here to learn more about fainting.