Unconsciousness (Fainting)

Unconsciousness or insensibility is due to interruption of the action of the brain due to certain causes. It is an important indication, not only of disease or injury to the brain but also of many serious injuries or diseases of other parts of the body.

Common causes of cnconsciousness

  1. Shock
  2. Asphyxia
  3. Poisoning
  4. Head injury
  5. Apoplexy
  6. Epilepsy
  7. Hysteria
  8. Infantile convulsion
  9. Heat storke
  10. Diabetic coma
  11. Heart attack
  12. Syncope
  13. Hypolgycaemia or insulin overdose

Do's and don'ts in an unconscious patient

  1. Do remember to check the patient's breathing before you do anything else.
  2. Do remove anything, such as a pillow from under the patient's head, if he is breathing with difficulty.
  3. Do not attempt to give food or fluids, while the casualty is unconscious. The fluid will run into the windpipe. Even if he responds vaguely to touch and speech, his ability to swallow is impaired.
  4. Don't twist or turn the neck when moving the head, in case there has been some injury to the upper part of the spinal column.
  5. When the patient returns to complete consciousness, you may moisten his lips with water. Unless an abdominal injury is suspected, sips of cold water may be given, if he complains of thirst.


Fainting, known medically as 'syncope' is sudden loss of consciousness, usually preceded by a feeling of weakness and dizziness and sometimes nausea as well.

Coping with Fainting

  1. If you feel faint, lie down or sit with your head between your knees so that blood can flow to the brain quickly.
  2. Loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
  3. Put a handkerchief or sponge soaked and wrung in cold water on the forehead.
  4. If fainting is accompanied by vomiting and/or diarrhoea, it is probably due to intestinal infection. Do avoid dehydration, the patient must take regular amount of fluids.