see also Fainting - First Aid, Fainting During Pregnancy
Suddenly feeling weak and unsteady, and momentarily passing out; caused by a momentary shortfall in oxygen supply to brain. In fact, fainting is the body's way of getting you to lie down so that blood, and the oxygen it carries, can reach the brain more easily.
Fainting can be a symptom of Low Blood Pressure (if it happens after a few days in bed, or as you stand up from a stooping or sitting position), Hypoglycaemia (if you are diabetic or have not eaten for some time) hyperventilation (after fasting or prolonged shallow breathing), Cervical Spondylosis (if person is over 50 and has only to turn head slowly to feel faint), Anaemia (increasing shortness of breath and tiredness), or Heat Exhaustion (after several hours in sun or in hot, stuffy surroundings); can also be a side effect of drugs given for high blood pressure; coughing, stretching, breath-holding, and unusually strenuous exercise can also cause fainting, as can Constipation, menstruation, and pregnancy. If person is unconscious, put in recovery position (see First Aid); if person feels faint, get him or her to lie down with legs raised or sit with head between knees (see First Aid); or click here if Heat Exhaustion is suspected.
If faints last for more than a minute or two, or occur quite frequently, see your medical doctor.
There are also a number of acute conditions which cause fainting or faintness together with other symptoms; these require urgent action. If person suddenly feels faint and weak, looks very pale, and gasps for air, there may be internal bleeding; appropriate action is to dial 999, with doses of Arnica 30c every 2 minutes until help arrives. If there is numbness and tingling, blurred vision, confusion, difficulty speaking, or loss of sensation in limbs, person may be having a Stroke; appropriate course is to consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours, and to give Arnica 30c every 15 minutes until help arrives. If person has a history of heart disease, loss of consciousness may be a Stokes Adams attack; again, consultation with your doctor if there is no improvement in 2 hours is the appropriate action, with Aconite 30c every 15 minutes until help arrives.
Constitutional homeopathic treatment may be appropriate if fainting is recurrent and related to emotional stress.
Specific remedies to be given every 5 minutes for up to doses when faintness comes on or immediately after
- Faintness associated with shortness of breath and unaccustomed exercise Nux mosch. 30c
- Brought on by fright, person pale, tense, scared of dying Aconite 30c
- Brought on by fright, person feels weak and shaky Gelsemium 30c
- Brought on by fright, person numb with shock Opium 30c
- Brought on by emotional shock Ignatia 30c
- Brought on by anger Veratrum 30c
- Brought on by excitement Coffea 30c
- Faintness associated with racing thoughts, person very thirsty for ice-cold water Phosphorus 30c
- Faintness caused by loss of blood China 30c
- Faintness caused by lack of sleep Cocculus 30c
- Person faints at sight of blood Nux 30c
Self-help: Get the person to sit down and gently push their head down towards their knees, or better still get she person to lie down, then put a cushion or two under their ankles - both measures encourage blood to flow towards the head. Loosen clothing around the neck; give the person as much fresh air as possible, and stop people crowding round.