Fainting is when someone briefly loses responsiveness, often causing the person fall to the ground. It happens because for a moment there is not enough blood flowing to the brain.

People often faint as a reaction to pain, exhaustion, hunger, or emotional stress. It is also common after someone has been standing or sitting still for a long period of time, especially if they’re feeling hot.

When someone faints, their pulse slows right down but it usually picks up and goes back to normal soon afterwards.

If someone who’s fainted doesn’t come round after a couple of minutes, then this could be more serious.

Watch our video - Fainting

What to look for - Fainting

There are three key signs of someone fainting:

  1. Brief loss of responsiveness, often causing them to fall to the ground
  2. A slow pulse
  3. Pale cold skin and sweating

What you need to do - Fainting

• If someone’s feeling faint, tell them to lie down.


• Kneel down next to them and raise their legs, supporting their ankles on your shoulders to help blood flow back to the brain. Watch their face for signs that they’re recovering.

• Make sure that they have plenty of fresh air – ask bystanders to move away and if you’re inside then ask someone to open a window.

• Reassure the casualty and help them to sit up slowly.

• If they don’t regain responsiveness again quickly, open their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone who is unresponsive.

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