Fainting: Care Instructions

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When you faint, or pass out, you lose consciousness for a short time. A brief drop in blood flow to the brain often causes it. When you fall or lie down, more blood flows to your brain and you regain consciousness.

Emotional stress, pain, or overheating—especially if you have been standing—can make you faint. In these cases, fainting is usually not serious. But fainting can be a sign of a more serious problem. Your doctor may want you to have more tests to rule out other causes.

The treatment you need depends on the reason why you fainted.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase your fluid intake. Ask your doctor when it is safe to drive.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have symptoms of a heart problem. These may include:
    • Chest pain or pressure.
    • Severe trouble breathing.
    • A fast or irregular heartbeat.
    • Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
    • Coughing up pink, foamy mucus.
    • Passing out.
    After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
  • You have symptoms of a stroke. These may include:
    • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
    • Sudden vision changes.
    • Sudden trouble speaking.
    • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
    • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
    • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness) again.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter A848 in the search box to learn more about "Fainting: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.