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Fainting is a loss of consciousness that happens quickly and sometimes without warning. A fainting episode usually resolves within seconds to minutes. If fainting is caused by another condition, then the condition will need to be treated.
Know the warning signs. If you feel that you are going to faint, sit or lie down right away.
Get up slowly and carefully from lying down. Start by sitting up for a minute and then stand up.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Discuss dietary changes with your doctor.
Avoid using alcohol or other drugs.
There are certain physical maneuvers that rapidly raise blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. They are called physical counterpressure maneuvers. When these are done during warning signs, you may be able to prevent fainting. Examples include:
Crossing your legs while tensing the muscles of legs, abdomen, and buttocks.
Forcefully squeezing a rubber ball or other object as hard as possible. Try to use your dominant hand.
Gripping one hand with the other while tensing both arms and raising the elbows slightly.
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Chen LY, Benditt DG, et al. Management of syncope in adults: an update.
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Fainting. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated July 2010. Accessed April 25, 2013.
Miller TH, Kruse JE. Evaluation of syncope.
Am Fam Physician.
Syncope evaluation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated March 5, 2013. Accessed April 25, 2013.
2/6/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) van Dijk N, Quartieri F, Blanc JJ, et al. Effectiveness of physical counterpressure maneuvers in preventing vasovagal syncope: the Physical Counterpressure Manoeuvres Trial (PC-Trial). J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006;48(8):1652-1657.
4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance ...(Click grey area to select URL) Choosing wisely. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed April 1, 2014.
Last reviewed April 2013 Last Updated: 4/1/2014
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.