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First Aid: Fainting

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
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First Aid

Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness that happens when there isn't enough blood going to the brain because of a drop in blood pressure. Blood pressure can drop from dehydration, a quick change in position, standing or sitting still for a long period, or a sudden fear of something (such as the sight of blood).

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

Signs and Symptoms

Someone who is about to faint might have:

What to Do

Whether your child is about to faint or already fainted: loosen tight clothing, make sure the area is well-ventilated, wipe your child's face with a cool washcloth, and don't let him or her stand or walk until feeling much better.

If your child seems about to faint:

  • Have him or her lie down or sit down with the head between the knees.

If your child has fainted:

  • Have him or her lie flat with feet slightly elevated. 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 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
  • 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: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: June 2018