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Fainting treatments

When feeling faint:

  • lie down with your legs raised slightly higher than your head
  • if you’re unable to lie down, sit down with your head between your knees
  • avoid lying on your back if you are pregnant, especially during the later months of pregnancy, because the pressure of your expanding uterus (womb) on your major blood vessels may cause you to feel faint, you should turn onto your side
  • be careful when moving and change positions very slowly, especially when moving from a lying or standing position
  • sit on the side of the bed for a couple of minutes before standing
  • if you feel faint whilst standing, you should sit down as soon as possible and rest until the feeling passes
  • avoid standing for long periods of time
  • avoid hot environments
  • eat a healthy diet and do not miss meals, you may find it helpful to eat small meals regularly
  • drink plenty of clear fluid a day (water is best) unless you have an existing medical condition which means this is not possible.

If you suspect someone is about to faint:

  • help the person to lie down, preferably in a position where their head is low and their legs are raised
  • if it is not possible for the person to lie down, sit them down with their head between their knees.

Fainting self-care and caring for someone

If you’ve fainted:

  • you should avoid driving or operating any machinery until you have discussed your fainting with a healthcare professional
  • try to establish the cause of your fainting and avoid it if possible.

If you are looking after someone who has fainted you should:

  • Place the person on their back and raise their legs so that blood flows back to the brain. You can kneel down and rest their legs on your shoulders.
  • Make sure they have plenty of fresh air.
  • If they don't recover quickly, make sure their airway is open and check their breathing.
  • If they are unresponsive, call triple zero (000) and start CPR.

After you faint, see your doctor if you:

  • injured yourself
  • faint often
  • fainted for the first time after you've turned 40
  • are pregnant
  • have diabetes or heart disease, or if you had chest pains or palpitations before you fainted
  • if you lost bladder or bowel control
  • if it took longer than a few minutes for you to regain consciousness.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your fainting treatments, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: September 2017

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