Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness caused by a shortage of oxygenated blood to the brain. Common causes of fainting include,
• Fear or anxiety
• Lack of fresh air
• Severe pain, injury or illness
• The sight of blood
• An underlying medical problem
• Fatigue or hunger
• Long periods of standing or sitting
A person who has fainted is unconscious. Place them in a recovery position to protect the airway and prevent possible choking. Place the casualty in a comfortable position as they regain consciousness.
• Ensure a supply of fresh air and loosen tight clothing at the neck, chest and waist.
• Make the casualty comfortable as consciousness returns and keep them lying down for 10 to 15 minutes. Continue to monitor breathing and
• Do not assume a person has “just fainted,” unless there is a quick recovery. If the recovery is not quick or complete, stay with the casualty until medical help takes over.
• If you have to leave to get medical help or you have to give first aid to other casualties, turn the casualty into the recovery position being as careful as you can if there are any injuries
A person chokes when the airway is partly or completely blocked and airflow to the lungs is reduced or cut off. The choking casualty either has trouble breathing or cannot breathe at all.
With good air exchange, the obstruction is mild and the person can still cough forcefully, breathe and speak. With poor air exchange, the obstruction is severe and the person cannot cough forcefully, has trouble breathing, or cannot speak. With a completely blocked airway, there is no air exchange- coughing, breathing, and speaking are impossible.
When the air supply to the lungs is cut off, the person’s face immediately becomes red or “flushed”. Shortly after, as the oxygen in the body is used up, the face becomes grey and the lips and ear lobes become blue. The person then becomes unconscious and eventually, the heart stops beating.
First aid for a choking adult or child,
1. Perform a scene survey.
2. If the casualty can cough forcefully, speak or breathe, tell them to try to cough up the
object. If a mild obstruction lasts for a few minutes, get medical help.
If you think there might be a severe obstruction, check by asking, “Are you choking?” If the casualty cannot cough forcefully, speak or breathe, use back blows followed by abdominal thrusts to remove the blockage.
1. Give back blows and abdominal thrusts.
2. Support the casualty and give up to five blows between the shoulder blades using the heel of your hand.
3. If the obstruction is not cleared, step behind the casualty ready to support them if they become unconscious.
4. Make a fist, place it on the casualty’s abdomen at the belly button, in line with the hip bones. Grasp the fist with the other hand and give five forceful inward and upward abdominal thrusts.
5. If the object is not removed, repeat back blows and abdominal thrusts.
If the casualty becomes unconscious,
1. Lower them to the ground. Call for medical help and get an AED if available
.2. Begin chest compressions immediately. After the first 30 compressions, check the mouth. Remove any foreign object you can see. Try to give 2 breaths. If air does not go in, continue to give chest compressions and inspect the mouth before ventilations.