Fainting, also known as passing out, is a temporary loss of consciousness. While it's usually not a sign of something serious, it's important to seek medical attention if it happens.


Fainting can occur due to various reasons, including:

  • standing up too quickly, which may indicate low blood pressure
  • insufficient food or fluid intake
  • overheating
  • strong emotional distress, anger, or severe pain
  • underlying heart problems
  • use of drugs or excessive alcohol consumption


Fainting typically happens suddenly and may be accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • dizziness
  • cold skin and sweating
  • feeling warm or hot
  • nausea
  • changes in vision

When to see a GP

If you have fainted, it is advisable to see a GP to determine the underlying cause, even though it's likely not a serious issue. Additionally, if you experience recurrent fainting episodes, you must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as it can affect your ability to drive. It's essential to follow the guidelines provided by the DVLA regarding reporting fainting incidents.

Preventing fainting

If you feel like you're about to faint, there are several things you can do to potentially prevent it:

  • lie down with your legs raised. If lying down is not possible, sit with your head lowered between your knees
  • stay hydrated by drinking water
  • eat something to stabilize your blood sugar levels
  • take slow, deep breaths to regulate your breathing

What to do if someone faints

If you are with someone who has fainted, it's important to remain calm and take appropriate action:

  • if possible, lay the person on their back and raise their legs to help restore blood flow to the brain.
  • if the person is pregnant, especially beyond 28 weeks, it's safer to lay them on their side
  • generally, the individual who has fainted will regain consciousness within approximately 20 seconds

When to call 999

Immediate medical attention is required if someone faints and exhibits the following signs:

  • they are not breathing
  • they cannot be awakened within one minute
  • they have not fully recovered or are experiencing difficulty with speech or movement
  • they have chest pain or irregular heartbeats (palpitations)
  • they have sustained serious injuries
  • they are shaking or jerking due to a seizure or fit
  • the fainting episode occurred during exercise or while lying down

Remember, it's important to promptly seek professional help in these emergency situations.

General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.


At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.