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What to do when someone faints

Last Modified: June 22, 2021

Safety & Prevention, Community

People faint for a lot of different reasons. If you are nearby, it’s important to know how to assist the patient. Celina Jones, BSN, RN, ACLS, PALS, BLS, TNCC, ENPC, Emergency Department, Parkview Hospital Randallia, offers some general guidance for those who might be with or come upon a person in distress.

If they are about to faint …
  • Help them sit down and ask them questions; any information that might be helpful to know once medical professionals arrive.
  • Heat and dehydration are both factors this time of year. Get the patient out of the heat or sun, if possible, and offer them some water. Consider applying ice packs, if available.
  • If they think they’re going to faint, help them first stand and then lay flat on the ground so you don’t have to catch them if/when they fall. This is for your safety, as well as the patient.


If they have already fainted …
  • Once the individual has fainted, ask for a response. They likely will not be able to communicate.
  • Call 911 so that someone can come and further evaluate the patient.
  • Next, check the ABCs:

A – Airway, make sure their neck is in line with their shoulders so they can breathe appropriately. Make sure the clothing around their neck is loose so the area is not constricted.

B – Breathing, is their chest rising and falling with their breath?

C – Circulation, check their pulse.

  • Stay with the individual to make sure you can reassure him/her when they wake up until professionals arrive.  




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