How to cure feeling like you’re about to faint

Fainting is when you pass out for a short time. It is not usually a sign of something serious, but if it happens regularly you should see a GP.

Causes of fainting

There are many reasons why someone might faint. Causes include:

  • standing up too quickly – this could be a sign of low blood pressure
  • not eating or drinking enough
  • being too hot
  • being very upset, angry, or in severe pain
  • heart problems
  • taking drugs or drinking too much alcohol

Symptoms of fainting

Fainting usually happens suddenly. Symptoms can include:

  • dizziness
  • cold skin and sweating
  • slurred speech
  • feeling sick
  • changes to your vision

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you have fainted and do not know the cause
  • you have recently fainted more than once

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

You must tell the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) if you’re fainting regularly as it could affect your ability to drive.

Things you can do to prevent fainting

If you feel like you are about to faint, try to:

  • lie down with your legs raised – if you cannot do this then sit with your head lowered between your knees
  • drink some water
  • eat something
  • take some deep breaths

If you see someone faint

If you are with someone who has fainted, try to keep calm.

If you can, lay them on their back and raise their legs.

Usually, the person who has fainted will wake up within 20 seconds.

Immediate action required: Call 999 if:

Someone faints and they:

  • cannot be woken up after 1 minute
  • have severely hurt themselves from a fall
  • are shaking or jerking because of a seizure or fit

Page last reviewed: 02 January 2020
Next review due: 02 January 2023

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

You probably got here by googling “Why am I dizzy?” A good place to start is our Patient Toolkit. More current and complete information can be found in our Educational Resources Library.

It can be used to describe the feeling we get when we stand up quickly and feel unbalanced, that unstable feeling of movement when we are standing still or the feeling just before passing out.

The term “dizzy” is used to describe a variety of different feelings and sensations, and can mean something different to everyone.

“The way dizziness makes you feel, such as the sensation of the room spinning, feeling faint or as if you’ve lost your balance, provides clues for possible causes,” says Dr. Susan Lotkowski, D.O, director of the Memorial Hospital of Salem County in Mannington.

Vertigo causes a patient to feel like there is movement where there is none. It may cause feelings of tilting, spinning or falling, nausea, vomiting and even trouble walking or standing.

Common causes of vertigo include Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which is intense, brief episodes of vertigo immediately following a change in the position of your head; inflammation in the inner ear which can cause an onset of intense vertigo that may persist for several days; Meniere’s Disease which involves a build-up of fluid in the inner ear, characterized by sudden episodes of vertigo lasting as long as several hours.

Meniere’s Disease can be accompanies by fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ear and a feeling of fullness in the affected ear.

Acoustic neuroma — a non-cancerous growth on the vestibular nerve — which connects the inner ear to your brain can also cause vertigo.

Disequilibrium, the loss of balance or feeling unsteady when you walk, is also a condition many people refer to as being dizzy.

To help diagnose the problem, keep track of dizziness and try to be as exact as possible when describing the feeling, she suggested. When visiting the doctor, always bring along a list of any medications you’re taking.

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

  • When does dizziness generally start during pregnancy?
  • Is dizziness a common early sign of pregnancy?
  • What causes dizziness during pregnancy?
  • What can I do about dizziness when I’m pregnant?
  • Can I prevent dizziness during pregnancy?
  • When does dizziness during pregnancy usually end?
  • When should I call the doctor about dizziness during pregnancy?

Throughout your pregnancy, you may experience a disorienting feeling of unsteadiness, or vertigo, that can make you feel as if you’re about to fall or faint. But don’t worry, it’s a normal and fairly common symptom of pregnancy that you can, for the most part, avoid by taking a few smart steps.

When does dizziness generally start during pregnancy?

Many women experience dizziness starting between week 12 and the first few weeks of the second trimester of pregnancy.

Is dizziness a common early sign of pregnancy?

Dizziness is not usually one of the first signs of pregnancy, but it can be an early pregnancy symptom if you have low blood sugar due to a case of morning sickness. You may feel dizzy as a sign of pregnancy even before a missed period if you’re not eating much because you’re feeling nauseous, which can sometimes (but definitely not always) occur within days of conception.

What causes dizziness during pregnancy?

Early in pregnancy, your body is gearing up to meet the needs of two bodies instead of one. Dizziness is likely due to several factors:

  • Your body isn’t yet producing enough blood to fill a rapidly expanding circulatory system.
  • High levels of progesterone can also make your blood vessels relax and widen, increasing blood flow to your baby but slowing it down to you — which can reduce your blood pressure. This, in turn, cuts back on blood flow to your brain, sometimes making your head spin.
  • Your growing uterus can put pressure on your blood vessels, especially when you’re lying on your back.
  • It’s not called a bun in the oven for nothing: Your body is generating plenty of heat right now, which means spending too much time in a hot or stuffy room can contribute to feelings of lightheadedness.
  • If your blood sugar drops or you become dehydrated, you’re more likely to experience a dizzy spell.

What can I do about dizziness when I’m pregnant?

Keep in mind that no matter how “normal” dizziness is, you shouldn’t ignore it. So use common sense: no driving, working out or handling anything that could potentially cause you harm. If you need help, don’t be shy about asking.

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How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

To stop a dizzy spell, lie down as soon as you start to feel lightheaded so you don’t fall or pass out, then elevate your feet to increase blood flow to your brain.

If that’s not possible, sit down and bend as far forward as you’re able to, putting your head between your knees if you can, and breathe slowly and deeply. If there’s no place to lie down or sit, kneel on one knee and bend forward as if you were tying your shoe until the spell passes.

Can I prevent dizziness during pregnancy?

To keep dizziness from starting in the first place:

  • Go slowly. Don’t get up too quickly when you’re sitting or lying down, since it can cause your blood pressure to drop, triggering dizziness.
  • Make the most of the munchies. Make sure you’re eating a healthy, well-rounded diet during pregnancy, with a mix of protein and complex carbs (like whole grain bread or pasta) at every meal to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
  • Feast frequently. Chow down on several small meals throughout the day to prevent dips in your blood sugar, and carry healthy pregnancy snacks with you for a quick blood sugar boost. Good options: a mini-box of raisins, a piece of fruit or some whole wheat crackers.
  • Fill up on fluids. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, since dizziness can be a sign of dehydration, too. Aim for around 12 to 13 glasses of fluids a day, and more if it’s hot or you’re working out.
  • Dress smart. Wear easy-to-shed layers in case you start feeling overheated, and avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, scarves or hats.
  • Don’t lie on your back. In your second and third trimesters, it’s best to avoid sleeping on your back, as your growing uterus can press on the vena cava (the main vein that carries blood back to the heart from your lower body region). That can interfere with optimum circulation and cause a feeling of dizziness.
  • Get some fresh air. Spending too much time in a stuffy, overheated indoor space (like a crammed bus, office or store) can trigger dizziness, so as long as you’re not feeling overly faint, try to take a five-minute walk outside every hour or so — which can help relieve other pregnancy symptoms like constipation and swelling, too.

When does dizziness during pregnancy usually end?

Once they start, dizzy spells can often last through the rest of your pregnancy. But they should subside after your baby is born.

When should I call the doctor about dizziness during pregnancy?

Sometimes iron deficiency (anemia) can result in fainting spells as oxygen-carrying blood cells are depleted. So if you actually pass out, call your doctor ASAP.

Some women might wonder whether dizziness is a symptom of miscarriage. Not to worry: Lightheadedness is not a common sign of miscarriage.

Others may have questions about whether dizziness might be a symptom of preeclampsia. But there’s no reason to be concerned there, either. Feeling faint is not a common sign of preeclampsia, which is characterized by the sudden onset of high blood pressure during pregnancy, while dizziness is often caused by the opposite problem: low blood pressure.

The bottom line is that if dizziness or lightheadedness are persistent even after you take steps to treat and prevent them, tell your practitioner how you’re feeling at your next visit.

From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect has strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible primary sources. Health information on this site is regularly monitored based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

In this Article

  • Tips for Handling a Dizzy Spell
  • When Should I Call a Doctor?
  • What Are the Causes?
  • Who Is More Likely To Get Dizzy?
  • Complications

DizzinessВ is a common problem and usually isn’t serious.В

During a spell of dizziness, you may feel as though you’re spinning or moving when you’re not (that’s called vertigo). You may also feel:

  • Lightheaded or faint
  • Unsteady on your feet
  • Woozy, as though your head is heavy or floating

Dizzy spells are different fromВ the sudden onset of dizziness, whichВ could be a sign of stroke. Go to the ER immediately.В

Tips for Handling a Dizzy Spell

If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down at once. This will lower your chance of falling down. If you have vertigo, it may help to lie down in a dark, quiet place with your eyes closed.

Drinking water may also give you fast relief, especially if you’re dizzy because you’re dehydrated.

If you’ve had a series of dizzy spells, there are things you can do to make yourself safer. Here are some of them:

  • Remove tripping hazards in your home, such as rugs on the floor, so that you’re less likely to fall.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, which can make symptoms worse.
  • Drink enough fluids and get plenty of sleep.
  • Be aware of things that trigger your dizziness, such as lights, noise, and fast movement, and try to be around them less or move more slowly.

When Should I Call a Doctor?

If you’ve had many bouts of dizziness or spells that last a long time, make an appointment with your doctor.

You should seek help immediately if you’re dizzy and also have:

  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden change in your vision or hearing, or trouble speaking
  • Numbness or weakness
  • A head injury
  • High fever
  • Stiffness in your neck

What Are the Causes?

Keeping you upright and balanced is not an easy job for the brain. It needs input from several systems to do that.

Your doctor may ask you some questions to help narrow down the cause of your problem: What were you doing before your dizziness? What did you feel like during your spell? How long did it last?

Your dizziness might be the result of a circulatory problem. These can include:

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure. This can happen after you sit up or stand too quickly. You might hear your doctor or nurse call this “orthostatic hypotension.”
  • Poor blood circulation. This could be the result of an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack. It could also be a brief disruption of the blood flow to your brain; that’s called a “transient ischemic attack,” or stroke.

Issues with your inner ear can also cause dizziness. Among them are:

  • Meniere’s syndrome. This usually affects only one ear. Symptoms other than dizziness may include ringing in your ear, muffled hearing, nausea or vomiting.
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This is a spinning sensation brought on by moving your head.
  • Ear infection. That can cause dizziness. Also, you could have something trapped in your ear canal.

Some other causes of dizziness include:

  • Medicines, such as antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, tranquilizers and sedatives. If you take medication for high blood pressure, it might lower your blood pressure too much, leaving you feeling faint.
  • Anxiety disorders. These include panic attacks.
  • Low iron levels in your blood. This is also called anemia. Other signs that you are anemic include fatigue, pale skin and weakness.
  • Low blood sugar. This is also called hypoglycemia. This may be a problem if you are diabetic and use insulin. Other symptoms include sweating and anxiety.

Who Is More Likely To Get Dizzy?

The older you are, the greater your chance for problems with dizziness. As you age, you’re also more likely to take medications that have it as a possible side effect.

If you’ve had a dizzy spell in the past, your odds of having a problem again are increased.

Complications

The most serious complication with dizziness is falling. It may also be unsafe for you to drive or perform other tasks. If your dizziness is caused by an underlying health problem, you may face other problems if that condition goes untreated.

Sources

National Health Service (U.K.): “Health A-Z – Dizziness.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Diseases and Conditions – Dizziness.”

Mayo Clinic: “Diseases and Conditions – Dizziness.”

Vestibular Disorders Association: “The Human Balance System.”

National Stroke Association: “Transient Ischemic Attack.”

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: “Dizziness and Vertigo.”

Vestibular Disorders Association: “Causes of Dizziness.”

How to cure feeling like you're about to faint

You bump into tables all the time. You’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve stubbed your little toe on the doorframe. When you practice yoga, your tree pose looks more like a … fallen tree.

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Are you a little clumsy? Or could your balance problem be something bigger?

Usually, true balance disorders go beyond run-of-the-mill klutziness, says audiologist Julie Honaker, PhD, CCCA, Director of the Vestibular and Balance Disorders Program.

But “balance disorders” include a broad range of problems, from minor lightheadedness to feeling like you’re standing on a boat (on one foot, during a hurricane).

Dr. Honaker shares more about the common causes of balance problems — and how to keep marching steady.

Symptoms of vestibular disorders

The inner ear is the HQ for the body’s balance, or vestibular, system. When something goes awry with that system, a whole range of symptoms can result, including:

  • Lightheadedness.
  • Coordination problems.
  • Struggling to walk in a dark room.
  • Veering left or right when walking.
  • Dizziness or vertigo (a spinning sensation).
  • Stumbling or feeling unstable on your feet.
  • Sensitivity or difficulty with vision and hearing.

Causes of dizziness

Any number of other things can knock your balance off-kilter, Dr. Honaker says. Something relatively minor, like dehydration or fatigue, can cause a bout of unsteadiness. But what if you’re hydrated, rested — and still stumbling? These are some of the usual suspects.

Medication side effects

Medication is one of the most common culprits of balance problems.

“So often, dizziness is listed as a side effect of medications,” Dr. Honaker points out. If you’re taking multiple prescription meds, they’re even more likely to interact in ways that leave you wobbly.

Viral infections

A virus can infect the ear and derail your sense of balance. Sometimes, colds can cause pressure changes in the middle ear, with the same dizzying effects. These infections usually resolve on their own.

Ear crystals

Don’t get too excited — this is less blingy than it sounds. Turns out, we have tiny crystals of calcium carbonate in the inner ear, which play a role in gravity sensing. (Who knew?) Sometimes, the crystals meander into parts of the inner ear where they don’t belong, Dr. Honaker says.

When that happens, you can feel like the room is whirling around you — especially when you move your head suddenly, like rolling over in bed or tipping your head back for a shampoo at the salon. The official name of this disorder is a mouthful: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. It’s the most common cause of vertigo (and, phew, it’s treatable).

Meniere’s disease

Meniere’s disease causes large amounts of fluid to collect in the inner ear. In addition to dizziness, it can cause hearing problems and ringing in the ears.

The bad news: Meniere’s attacks are unpredictable and may be severe. The good news: You can often manage the disease with diet changes and medication.

Aging

You are older and wiser — but perhaps slightly less steady. The inner ear balance system can decline as you age, Dr. Honaker says. Meanwhile, the strength of your eyesight, hearing and even sense of touch can deteriorate — all of which can contribute to poor balance.

But pull on your yoga pants and grab your mat, because balance-boosting exercises like tai chi and yoga can help keep you steady. “It’s important to engage our balance system through regular exercise,” Dr. Honaker says. “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

When to see a doctor for balance problems

If something seems off with your balance, it’s wise to see a doctor to investigate possible suspects, Dr. Honaker says.

Inner ear problems are often to blame, so definitely mention symptoms such as changes in hearing, ringing or a feeling of fullness in the ears. But sometimes, the problem is related to other issues, such as neurological problems or even heart problems.

Since so many different things can mess with your balance, it makes sense to talk to your primary care doctor first. He or she can help narrow down the suspect list before you visit any specialists.

Many vestibular problems are treatable, Dr. Honaker says, so don’t be afraid to get to the bottom of it.

How to prevent falls

To prevent falls, Dr. Honaker has this advice:

  1. Get strong. A strong body, particularly your core, will improve your balance and help you avoid falls. Consult a doctor first, but you could try tai chi, yoga or even standard strength training.
  2. Use handrails. Always use handrails when walking up and down stairs. Falls can happen at any age. Making it a rule to use the handrails could save you from a serious injury.
  3. Remove hazardous items from the floor. Remove hazardous items from the floor that may trip people, such as stools and scatter rugs.
  4. Wear low-heeled, flexible shoes with a good tread. For women, it’s tempting to wear high heels, but flats are a safer option if you are worried about losing your balance. For men and women, be sure to wear shoes that have a good tread so you don’t slip on slippery floors.
  5. Safety-proof your home. Place hand grips in the bath and shower and always use handrails when walking up and down stairs. Use adequate lighting or night lights to safely walk around your home at night.

In this Article

  • Call 911 if the person:
  • 1. Make the Person Safe
  • 2. Try to Revive the Person
  • 3.Turn the Person on Their Side if They:
  • 4. Do Home Care for Simple Fainting
  • 5. Call a HealthcCare Provider

Call 911 if the person:

  • Has blue lips or face
  • An irregular or slow heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Is difficult to awaken
  • Acts confused

1. Make the Person Safe

  • Lay the person flat on their back.
  • Elevate the person’s legs to restore blood flow to the brain.
  • Loosen tight clothing.

2. Try to Revive the Person

  • Shake the person vigorously, tap briskly, or yell.
  • If the person doesn’t respond, call 911 immediately and start CPR if necessary.
  • If an AED is available, bring it by the person and use it if you have been trained on its use.

3.Turn the Person on Their Side if They:

  • Is vomiting or bleeding from the mouth

4. Do Home Care for Simple Fainting

  • If the person is alert, give fruit juice, especially if the person has not eaten in more than 6 hours or has diabetes.
  • Stay with the person until they are fully recovered.

5. Call a HealthcCare Provider

See a healthcare provider right away if the person:

  • Hit their head when fainting
  • Faints more than once in a month
  • Is pregnant or has a heart condition or other serious illness
  • Experiences unusual symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, or difficulty talking

Sources

Children’s Hospital, Colorado: “Fainting.”

Carnegie Mellon University Student Affairs Health Services: “Fainting.”

Light headedness is linked with a host of condition. The symptom of light headedness is associated with a host of condition and is characterized by dizziness and tendency to faint or pass out. While in most cases light headed feeling usually passes off within a few seconds and is not life threatening.

However in some cases light headedness may lead to a spell of fainting or syncope, which increases the risk of injury due to fall. Treatment of light headedness and dizziness depends upon the underlying cause of the condition; however there are some simple tips that can help manage the condition promptly.

What Causes Feeling Of Lightheadedness?

There are several factors that may contribute to the sensation of light headedness. While these factors are further affected by age, lifestyle patterns, gender, etc, some of the common causes of light headedness include the following.

    Hunger is one of the most common causes of light headedness. Hunger results in drop of blood sugar level, which in turn can trigger an episode of light headedness in an individual.

Light Headed Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms associated with light headedness include,

  • Giddiness with loss of sense of position. While this may be transient, it can further lead to syncope or fainting.
  • Vomiting or nausea may also be associated with an episode of light headedness.

What To Do When Feeling Light Headed And Dizzy?

While lightheaded feeling can occur suddenly and you may not get enough time to respond to the situation, there are certain things that you can do to prevent injury or a fall,

  • Sit down or lie down the movement you feel uneasy or giddy. Usually episode of light headedness may be accompanied with syncope or fainting. This will help prevent you from getting injured or hurt.
  • Always carry a snack with you if you are diabetic or prone to frequent episodes of light headedness. The snack helps improve the blood sugar level and alleviate the symptoms associated with the condition.
  • Ensure that you consume a healthy diet. Faulty diet and nutritional deficiencies can contribute significantly to the feeling of ill health.
  • Keep yourself well hydrated, especially in summers or when you plan to spend the day outdoors.

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Dizziness is a general, non-specific term often used to describe a variety of associated symptoms, such as feeling faint, lightheaded, nauseous, weak, or unsteady. If your dizziness is creating the sense that you or your surroundings are spinning, then that is more accurately called vertigo. [1] X Trustworthy Source Mayo Clinic Educational website from one of the world’s leading hospitals Go to source Dizziness is a common reason for doctor visits and is certainly uncomfortable and/or annoying to experience. While it has several causes, most cases are unlikely to represent a serious, life-threatening condition. There are many ways to overcome dizziness at home, but be aware of the “red flags” that signal the need for medical intervention.