First Aid for Fainting

Fainting is a brief loss of consciousness. Someone who faints may pass out for several seconds or up to an hour.

There are many reasons people faint. Medical reasons include:

Other things that can lead to feeling faint or fainting include:

Know, also, that the risk for fainting increases if you are in hot, humid weather, are in a stuffy room or have consumed excessive amounts of alcohol.

Just before fainting, a person may:

Here are some dos and don'ts to remember if someone is about to faint or faints:



Don't allow the person who's fainted to get up until the sense of physical weakness passes. Then be watchful for a few minutes to be sure he or she doesn't faint again.

Questions to Ask

Is the person who fainted not breathing and does he/she not have a pulse? Yes: Seek CareGive First Aid
Do CPR and Get Emergency Care. (See CPR.)
Are signs of a heart attack also present with the fainting?
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Pain that spreads to the arm, neck or jaw.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Sweating.
  • Rapid, slow or irregular heartbeat.
  • Anxiety.
Yes: Seek CareGive First Aid
Get Emergency Care and give first aid before emergency care. (See "Chest Pain".)
Are signs of a stroke also present with the fainting?
  • Numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg.
  • Temporary loss of vision or speech, double vision.
  • Sudden, severe headache.
Yes: Seek Care
Did the fainting come after an injury to the head? Yes: Seek CareGive First Aid
Get Emergency Care and give first aid before emergency care. (See "Head Injuries".)
Do you have any of these with the fainting?
  • Pelvic pain.
  • Black stools.
Yes:See Doctor
Have you fainted more than once? Yes:Call Doctor
Do any of these apply?
  • You are take high blood pressure medicine.
  • You started taking a new medicine.
  • You increased the dose of a medicine you take.
Yes:Call Doctor

Self-Care/First Aid

Do these things when you feel faint:

If you faint easily:

American Institute of Preventive Medicine